Petals in Ranunculales are nectariferous organs referred to as “nectary leaves” and show diversity in shape, color and structure due to various positions and structure of nectary tissue. Menispermaceae are in the core Ranunculales and have green and short nectary leaves, but the knowledge on structure and functions of the nectary leaves is limited. We use scanning electron microscopy, light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy to investigate nectary leaves structure, micro-morphology and ultrastructure in two species of Stephania in Menispermaceae. Our results show that secretory tissues present in the upper part of abaxial side of the nectary leaves and the specialized secretory epidermal cells are distinguished from other cells. In Stephania cepharantha, clusters of secreting epidermal cells are raised slightly above other cells to form some “bulges” (8–25 cells arranged in a cluster) and connected to distinct huge sieve tube elements. In contrast, in Stephania japonica, secretory epidermal cells are lower than non-secreting cells and result in many “well-like” structures (comprising 6–20 cells per “well”), and have no sieve tube element connection. Secretory epidermal cells have dense cytoplasm, large nucleus and abundant organelles. Nectar secretions are exuded via micro-channels or pores of cuticle on outer walls. The type of secretory tissue in Stephania is the variant of nectarioles.
Plant Systematics and Evolution – Springer Journals
Published: May 30, 2018
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