Micromorphology of epicuticular wax structures of the garden strawberry leaves by electron microscopy: syntopism and polymorphism.
ABSTRACT Ultrastructural aspects of leaf epicuticular wax structures were investigated in the garden strawberry Fragariaxananassa by scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Both the adaxial and abaxial surfaces of two cultivars (Maehyang and Red Pearl) were collected and subjected to surface observations and ultrathin sections. The most prominent leaf epicuticular wax structures included membraneous platelets and angular rodlets. Most wax platelets were membraneous, and appeared to protrude from the surface at an acute angle. Angular rodlets were usually bent and had rather distinct facets in the abaxial surface of the two cultivars. Membraneous platelets were predominant on the adaxial surface of Maehyang, whereas the adaxial surface of Red Pearl was characterized by angular rodlets. However, both cultivars possessed angular rodlets on the abaxial surface, simultaneously. The combination of air-drying without vacuum and in-lens imaging of secondary electron signals with a field emission gun could impart the superb resolution at low electron dose with minimal specimen shrinkage. In vertical profiles of the leaf epidermis, epicuticular waxes were observed above the cuticle layer, and measured approximately as 50nm in thickness. The natural epicuticular waxes were seemingly mixtures of electron-dense microfibrils, and heterogeneous in shape on ultrathin sections. Distinct crystal-like strata could be hardly discernable in the wax structures. These results suggest that the garden strawberry has the nature of syntopism within one plant and polymorphism within the same species in the formation and occurrence of leaf epicuticular waxes.