In this study, we show that oxygen is required in order for deepwater rice to elongate its internodes during partial or complete submergence. During complete submergence, the leaf gas films are essential for the oxygen supply and elongation slows down if the gas films are experimentally removed. Furthermore, gene expression shows that in the absence of gas films ‘anaerobic gene’ are highly expressed during night time. Nevertheless with intact gas films, deepwater rice is capable of elongating with up to 20 cm per day enabling it to re-establish contact with the atmosphere even during severe floods.
Partially submerged deepwater rice with superhydrophobic leaves that retain a robust leaf gas film under water.