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Vegetative anatomical adaptations of Epidendrum radicans (Epidendroideae, Orchidaceae) to epiphytic conditions of growth

Muthukumar T.; Shenbagam M.

The anatomical properties of leaf, stem, and root of Epidendrum radicans Pav. ex Lindl., belonging to the subfamily Epidendroideae (Orchidaceae) were investigated for adaptations to stressed habitats. The anatomical investigation revealed that leaves of E. radicans have a thick cuticle (3–4 µm) and paracytic type of stomata. Foliar epidermal cells are conical on the adaxial surface and rectangular in the abaxial surface, distinct hypodermis absent, and uniseriate fiber bundles are arranged in both sides of the leaves. The foliar mesophyll is homogenous and starch grains and raphides present. The leaf sheath covering the stem have cuticle restricted to the outer surface and air spaces are present. The stem has a cuticulerized uniseriate epidermis and a uniseriate hypodermis. The cortex and a parenchymatous ground tissue of the stem are separated by a layer of sclerenchymatous band. Vascular bundles are collateral and their size generally increases from the periphery towards the center. A sclerenchymatous patch covers the phloem pole, whereas the xylem is covered by thin-walled parenchymatous cells. The roots possess Epidendrum-type velamen. Cover cells present. Uniseriate dimorphic exodermis consists of U-thickened long cells and thin-walled passage cells. The endodermal cells O-thickened, pericycle sclerenchymatous, xylem 10–14 arched. The pith is sclerenchymatous, but parenchymatous at the center. The anatomical examination of E. radicans revealed adaptations to moisture stress conditions like thick cuticle covering the leaves and stem, water storage cells, multilayered velamen and dimorphic exodermis.

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