Coordination of spring vascular and organ phenology in deciduous angiosperms growing in seasonally cold climates

Jessica A. Savage, Isabelle Chuine

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


In seasonally cold climates, many woody plants tolerate chilling and freezing temperatures by ceasing growth, shedding leaves and entering dormancy. At the same time, transport within these plants often decreases as the vascular system exhibits reduced functionality. As spring growth requires water and nutrients, we ask the question: how much does bud, leaf and flower development depend on the vasculature in spring? In this review, we present what is known about leaf, flower and vascular phenology to sort out this question. In early stages of bud development, buds rely on internal resources and do not appear to require vascular support. The situation changes during organ expansion, after leaves and flowers reconnect to the stem vascular system. However, there are major gaps in our understanding of the timing of vascular development, especially regarding the phloem, as well as the synchronization among leaves, flowers, stem and root vasculature. We believe these gaps are mainly the outcome of research completed in silo and urge future work to take a more integrative approach. We highlight current challenges and propose future directions to make rapid progress on this important topic in upcoming years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1700-1715
Number of pages16
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank three anonymous reviewers for feedback on the manuscript. Work was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, USA (IOS: 1656318) to JAS, and the Bullard Fellowship of Harvard University to IC.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors New Phytologist © 2021 New Phytologist Foundation


  • bud connection to stem
  • budburst
  • cambial reactivation
  • cambium
  • endodormancy
  • overwintering
  • phloem
  • xylem

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review


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