Anatomical Characterisation

Leaves

Epidermis: Epidermic cells are square and regular with thick walls. They are covered by a thin cuticle. The lower epidermis presents numerous paracytic stomata, whereas the upper epidermis has very few.

Mesophyl: The mesophyl is isobilateral and formed by two layers of radially elongated cells bordering both epidermis while central cells are shorter. Scattered irregular, ramified, branched stone cells with calcium oxalate crystals can be observed. The conductive tissue is made up by a large vascular bundle in the centre and smaller lateral bundles all surrounded by cells with thick walls. Vessels frequently end on enlarged tracheids (Figure 2a).

Stems

Epidermis: It presents square cells covered by a thick papillous yellow cuticle and a moderate amount of paracytic stomata.

Bark: The heterogeneous cortical parenchyma consists of two or three layers of radially enlarged chlorenchymatic cells and various layers of inner cells tangentially enlarged (Figure 2b). In the first zone branched crystalliferous stone cells are present, while in the second area groups of fibres with thick walls and narrow lumen appear.

Figure 2 Anatomical structure of the leaf (left) and stem (right) of L. cuneifolia (x40).

Figure 3 Crytalliferous branched stone cell of L. cuneifolia (R. et P.) Tiegh. (x400).

Figure 3 Crytalliferous branched stone cell of L. cuneifolia (R. et P.) Tiegh. (x400).

Central cylinder: The central cylinder is made up by opened collateral conducting bundles. The xylem forms a continuous ring presenting a great number of thick-walled lignified fibres in variable groups per bundle. Medullar rays consist of two to five layers of parenchymatous radially enlarged cells. A perimedullar zone is formed by round cells with thick sclerosed walls having simple pits. Around the pith, round cells with thick cellulose walls are found, accompanied by crystalliferous branched stone cells (Varela and Gurni, 1995) (Figure 3).

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