Morphoanatomy of nectaries of Chamaecrista (L.) Moench sections Chamaecrista , Caliciopsis and Xerocalyx (Leguminosae: Caesalpinioideae)


Acta Bot. Bras.




ABSTRACT Nectaries are specialized structures that secrete nectar. Several species of Chamaecrista possess nectaries on the petiole, which have been shown to vary widely in morphology and the chemical nature of their secretion. However, a comprehensive investigation of the nectaries of the clade formed by sect. Chamaecrista, Caliciopsis and Xerocalyx has yet to be performed. Our study aimed to confirm whether or not the leaf glands of species of this clade are in fact nectaries, determine the chemical nature of their secretion and expand the morphoanatomical database on leaf nectaries in Chamaecrista with the intention of contributing to the taxonomy and phylogeny of the genus. Samples from herbarium and field-collected material were subjected to standard methods for light and scanning electron microscopy. Four different forms of nectaries were observed: urceolate, patelliform, verruciform and cupuliform. The nectaries were found to comprise a single-layered epidermis, nectary parenchyma, subnectary parenchyma and vascularization. Polysaccharides, lipids, phenolic compounds and proteins were detected in secretions. Although anatomical similarities were observed among the studied species, their morphology differed. Moreover, the glands are indeed nectaries and are similar to those observed in other species of the genus Chamaecrista. These data hold potential taxonomic usefulness for the studied sections.

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