In order to evaluate factors controlling transpiration of six common eastern deciduous species in North America, a model describing responses of canopy stomatal conductance (GS) to net radiation (RN), vapor pressure deficit (D) and relative extractable soil water (REW) was parameterized from sap flux data. Sap flux was measured in 24 mature trees consisting of the species Carya tomentosa, Quercus alba, Q. rubra, Fraxinus americana, Liriodendron tulipifera, and Liquidambar styraciflua in a bottomland oak-hickory forest in the Duke Forest, NC. Species differences in model coefficients were found during the 1997 growing season. All species showed a reduction in GS with increasing D. RN influenced GS in the overstory shade intolerant L. styraciflua to a larger extent than the other species measured. In addition, despite a severe drought during the study period, only L. tulipifera showed a decline in GS with decreasing REW. The primary effect of the drought for the other species appeared to be early autumn leaf senescence and abscission. As a result, despite the drought in this bottomland forest accustomed to ample water supply, maximum daily transpiration (1.6 mm) and growing season transpiration (264 mm) were similar to a nearby upland forest measured during a year of above average precipitation. These results may aid in assessing differences in water use and the ability of bottomland deciduous species to tolerate alterations in the frequency or amount of precipitation. Results also suggest little variation in water use among forests of similar composition and structure growing in different positions in the landscape and subjected to large interannual variation in water supply.