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Comparative Anatomy of Three Species of the Apophyllous Genus Gymnophyton

T. W. Bocher
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 59, No. 5 (May - Jun., 1972), pp. 494-503
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2441532
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Comparative Anatomy of Three Species of the Apophyllous Genus Gymnophyton
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Abstract

The anatomy of three species of Gymnophyton has been studied by light and electron microscopy. The species are essentially leafless and morphologically they are very much alike, but they differ anatomically and can be characterized just by their anatomical differences. SEM revealed great differences in stomatal structure, orientation, and dimensions. Micro-channels (ectodesmata) in the guard cell walls were disclosed in great numbers in G. isatidicarpum by using interference contrast microscopy, and these structures are thought to function as pathways for wax precursors. In older stems of this species the epidermis and cortical palisade tissue are isolated by a continuous periderm layer. Before dying, the palisade cells undergo alterations, and the stomata are permanently closed by cuticular plugs between the guard cells or by fusion of the swollen adaxial parts of the subsidiary cells. Similar permanent closure mechanisms are not found in G. polycephalum and G. robustum, which also deviate by having their stomatal openings orientated at a right angle to the axis of the stem and by the occurrence of collenchyma strands instead of fiber strands along the stem corner ribs. Gymnophyton polycephalum and G. robustum seem to be more closely related to each other than either is to G. isatidicarpum, but they differ markedly from one another in the size and structure of their stomatal complexes.

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