The O-18 signature of atmospheric water vapour (delta O-18(V)) is known to be transferred via leaf water to assimilates. It remains, however, unclear how the O-18-signal transfer differs among plant species and growth forms. We performed a 9-hr greenhouse fog experiment (relative humidity >= 98%) with O-18-depleted water vapour (-106.7 parts per thousand) on 140 plant species of eight different growth forms during daytime. We quantified the O-18-signal transfer by calculating the mean residence time of O in leaf water (MRTLW) and sugars (MRTSugars) and related it to leaf traits and physiological drivers. MRTLW increased with leaf succulence and thickness, varying between 1.4 and 10.8 hr. MRTSugars was shorter in C-3 and C-4 plants than in crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) plants and highly variable among species and growth forms; MRTSugars was shortest for grasses and aquatic plants, intermediate for broadleaf trees, shrubs, and herbs, and longest for conifers, epiphytes, and succulents. Sucrose was more sensitive to delta O-18(V) variations than other assimilates. Our comprehensive study shows that plant species and growth forms vary strongly in their sensitivity to delta O-18(V) variations, which is important for the interpretation of delta O-18 values in plant organic material and compounds and thus for the reconstruction of climatic conditions and plant functional responses.