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Brazilian Journal of Botany

Print version ISSN 0100-8404On-line version ISSN 1806-9959


MANTUANO, Dulce Gilson; BARROS, Cláudia Franca  and  SCARANO, Fábio Rubio. Leaf anatomy variation within and between three "restinga" populations of Erythroxylum ovalifolium Peyr: (Erythroxylaceae) in Southeast Brazil. Rev. bras. Bot. [online]. 2006, vol.29, n.2, pp.209-215. ISSN 0100-8404.

Erythroxylum ovalifolium is a woody shrub widespread in the "restinga", i.e. the open scrub vegetation of the Brazilian coastal sandy plains. We examined leaf anatomy variation of this species both within populations and between populations of three "restingas" in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Sites were ca.100 km far from each other and differed in regard to rainfall and vegetation structure: a dry, open site; a wet, dense site and an intermediate one. Microhabitats within sites were: (i) exposed to full irradiance, outside vegetation islands; (ii) partially exposed to full irradiance, at the border of vegetation islands; (iii) shaded, inside vegetation islands. Leaf anatomy parameters were measured for five leaves collected in each of five plants per microhabitat, in each population; they were thickness of the leaf blade, of the palisade and spongy parenchyma, and of the adaxial and abaxial epidermis. Leaves from the dry, open site had narrower abaxial epidermis and a smaller contribution of spongy parenchyma to total leaf blade thickeness than the other two sites, which we attributed to water stress. Adaxial epidermis and leaf are thicker in more exposed microhabitats (i and ii, above), irrespective of site. We proposed that between-site anatomical variation in traits related to water stress, and within-site anatomical variation in traits related to light-use are indicative of ecological plasticity and might help explain the high abundance of E. ovalifolium in the studied populations and along the State of Rio de Janeiro coast.

Keywords : anatomic variation; Erythroxylum ovalifolium; mesophyll; sun-shade plants.

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