The objective of this study was to evaluate plant water use efficiency (WUE) and to study the relationship with instantaneous and intrinsic leaf WUE in globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus Hayek L.). We carried out a farm-scale experiment during two consecutive seasons and two irrigation water managements were compared: a ‘conventional’ treatment, and an alternative one with canopy-cooling. Plant biomass, water consumption, and gas exchange parameters were measured to estimate the plant and leaf WUE. Our findings first highlight that overall the year (meteorological trend) had a significant effect on both plant and leaf level WUE in globe artichoke crop. The variables analysed in this study were also altered by the irrigation strategies that showed significant differences during the period of transition between vegetative and reproductive stage. Overall, our results lead to the conclusion that globe artichoke water status characterization at plant- and leaf-level, deserves further research in order to confirm our findings through the analysis of different environments.
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