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Acta Botanica Brasilica

Print version ISSN 0102-3306On-line version ISSN 1677-941X


NERY, Lays Araújo; VIEIRA, Milene Faria  and  VENTRELLA, Marília Contin. Leaf glands of Banisteriopsis muricata (Malpighiaceae): distribution, secretion composition, anatomy and relationship to visitors. Acta Bot. Bras. [online]. 2017, vol.31, n.3, pp.459-467. ISSN 0102-3306.

Leaf glands are common structures in Malpighiaceae and exhibit great morphological diversity, yet information on their anatomy, secretion and type of visitors remains scarce. The aim of this study was to describe the distribution, anatomical development and chemical and functional properties of leaf glands of Banisteriopsis muricata (Malpighiaceae). Leaves at different stages of development were collected and processed according to standard techniques for light and scanning electron microscopy. Secretion composition was determined by histochemical tests and test-strips, while gland funciton was determined by field observation of interactions with visitors. Leaf glands were located on the petiole and on the abaxial base of the leaf blade. The gland secretion was found to be a protein-rich nectar that was foraged upon by ants ( Solenopsis); it was found accumulated in subcuticular spaces without pores or stomata for its release. Leaf glands were found to develop from protoderm and ground meristem, and consisted of typical secretory epidermis, nectariferous parenchyma and vascularized subnectariferous parenchyma. Therefore, it can be concluded that the distribution, chemical nature of secretion and anatomy of leaf glands of B. muricata characterize them as EFNs, while foraging by ants indicate a mutualistic relationship that possibly protects the plant against herbivores.

Keywords : anatomy; ants; extrafloral nectaries (EFNs); histochemistry; leaf glands; nectar; ontogeny.

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