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Amorphophallus titanum

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The Asian skunk cabbage Symplocarpus renifolius has an exothermic spadix on which about 100 flowers bloom in very early spring when effective pollinators such as bees and drone flies are inactive. This species is protogynous; female phase and male phase took 6.8 ± SD 5.8 days and 16.7 ± 5.7 days, respectively, with a short transitional phase of bisexuality (2.1 ± 0.9 days). The spadices produced heat 24 hours/day throughout female and bisexual phases, but temperature dropped quickly after the beginning of male phase. Although self-compatibility was expected from the flower structure, the basipetal flowering, and the absence of effective pollinators, bagging tests demonstrated that they rarely produce seeds without crossing. The spadices were visited by small numbers of invertebrates throughout the flowering season. Of these invertebrates, house flies, rove beetles, and mosquitos were the likeliest pollinators, since they are probably attracted both to the pollen produced in male phase and to the stench or carbon dioxide in female phase. On two female spadices with immature male flowers, we fortuitously collected a rove beetle and a mosquito that carried some pollen grains; these had to have been transported from other S. renifolius spadices. This infrequent and ineffective pollination appears to explain why as low as 13% of spadices set seeds in a natural population. We examine alternative hypotheses to explain production of heat in spadices of skunk cabbage.
Article
Although numerous studies have considered the functional significance of the terrestrial plant leaf surface, the importance of water repulsion for enhancing photosynthetic carbon uptake (CO2) has not been recognized and appears to involve an array of structural adaptations. The large majority of species tested had leaf surfaces that repelled water to such an extent that varying degrees of water-bead formation occurred. On more wettable leaves, the formation of a water surface film (dewfall) severely curtailed photosynthetic CO, uptake in the field, most likely because CO2 diffuses 10⁴ times slower in water than air. Water bead formation not only enabled maintenance of high photosynthetic rates but also increased water use efficiency several fold. In 3 of 5 species tested in the field, water bead formation after artificial wetting resulted in greater stomatal opening and increases in photosynthesis of up to 34%. The most nonwettable leaf surface on a given leaf also had all or the majority of the leaf's stomata in 50 of the 57 species tested, indicating a potentially strong adaptive relationship between leaf surface wettability, stomatal occurrence, and photosynthetic performance.
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A survey of the presence of endothecial thickenings in 20 genera from 11 families of porate monocotyledons tested the long-standing hypothesis that porate anther dehiscence is correlated with the absence of thickenings. Although this hypothesis is widely repeated in texts, it has been supported by a limited, biased data base from studies of Ericaceae and Melastomataceae, two large families of dicotyledons. The results of our broad study of monocotyledons show that endothecial thickenings are present in most porate monocotyledons. Thickenings are absent in only two of the 11 porate families surveyed, Mayacaceae and Commelinaceae, both in the Commelinales. Thickenings are also absent in Xyris (Xyridaceae), a nonporate genus. These findings indicate that in monocotyledons porate anther dehiscence and the absence of thickenings are not as closely related as previously supposed.
Article
After the short-lived apical meristem ceases activity, a basal intercalary meristem produces all new tissues in the aerial internode of Scirpus validus Vahl. These include extensions of the original vascular system and of the original partitioning walls as well as new vascular bundles and new walls which are produced in a predictable pattern. Diaphragms begin to differentiate well within the intercalary meristem. At first their cells are indistinguishable from those that will become the aerenchyma, but they undergo segmentation and form packets of daughter cells. Such continued mitotic activity allows the diaphragms to expand with the increasing girth of the stem above the intercalary meristem. Aerenchyma cells between the diaphragms become stellate by being stretched as the cells of the vertical partitions divide and enlarge in and above the intercalary meristem.
Article
A number of anatomical peculiarities of (leaf sheath-homologous) petaloid bracts and of sheath and lamina of foliage leaves of Heliconia revoluta are listed. These have been unknown with regard to Heliconiaceae (cf. Tomlinson 1969), to monocotyledons, or even to Spermatophyta in general, e.g. certain types of stomatal apparatus. Hairs of this family are illustrated for the first time. Some of these characters also occur in a restricted number of other Heliconia species.