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The Ultrastructure of the Salt Glands of Cynodon and Distichlis (Poaceae)

J. W. Oross and W. W. Thomson
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 69, No. 6 (Jul., 1982), pp. 939-949
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2442890
Page Count: 11
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The Ultrastructure of the Salt Glands of Cynodon and Distichlis (Poaceae)
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Abstract

The epidermal salt glands of the grasses Cynodon and Distichlis consist of a small outer cap cell and a large, flask-shaped basal cell. The wall of the basal cell is contiguous with those of the adjacent epidermal cells and underlying mesophyll cells. The basal cell is connected symplastically with all adjoining cells via plasmodesmata. The outer, protruding portion of the glands is covered by a cuticle continuous with that of the adjoining epidermal cells. However, the lateral cell walls of the glands are not incrusted by this cuticle. The cap cell wall has a loose, mottled appearance quite different from the compact striated appearance of the basal cell wall. The cap cell is characterized by dense cytoplasm containing many organelles and a varying number of small vacuoles. The basal cell cytoplasm is distinguished by the presence of an intricate system of paired membranes that are closely associated with mitochondria and microtubules. These membranes are infoldings of the plasmalemma that originate adjacent to the wall separating the cap and basal cells. The space enclosed by the paired membranes, therefore, is an extracellular channel that is open only in the direction of secretory flow. The consistent orientation of this system of paired membranes suggests that it represents a structural specialization which is directly and functionally involved in the secretory process. The close association of mitochondria and microtubules with the paired membranes implies that these structures are also functionally related to the secretory process. Finally, the results of this study indicate that these glands are ultrastructurally similar to those of Spartina and that the glands of these three grasses are structurally distinct from those of dicotyledonous plants.

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