Distinctive tracheid microstructure in stems of Victoria and Euryale (Nymphaeaceae)

Sherwin Carlquist, Edward L. Schneider

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Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) photographs of thick sections from liquid-preserved stems of Victoria cruziana and Euryale ferox show accretions of coarse fibrils on pit membranes of tracheids. The first-deposited fibrils are randomly orientated; on top of them (facing the tracheid lumina) are axially orientated coarse fibrils. The two systems are interconnected. Axially orientated fibrils were more extensively observed in Euryale than in Victoria and tips of fibrils in Euryale extend over the pit apertures onto secondary wall surfaces. Tracheid-parenchyma interfaces bear rudimentary coarse fibrils on the tracheid side. End walls of Victoria tracheids have highly porose pit membranes, thinner and less complex than those of the lateral intertracheid walls. The structures reported in Victoria and Euryale are consistent with those concurrently reported for stems of other Nymphaeaceae. Although also present in Cabombaceae, the coarse fibrils are otherwise not reported for stems of angiosperms and are not yet reported in roots of any species. Pit membrane remnants in perforation plates of various woody dicotyledons represent a nonhomologous phenomenon. The accretions of coarse fibrils in stem tracheids of Nymphaeaceae do not appear to enhance conduction, although they do contain porosities interconnecting tracheids. Removal of pit membrane remnants from perforation plates of primitive dicotyledon woods by hydrolysis does, on the contrary, suggest conduction enhancement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-57
Number of pages6
JournalBotanical Journal of the Linnean Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • Aquatics
  • Early branching angiosperms
  • Nuphar
  • Nymphaea
  • Pit membranes
  • Xylem


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