Development of woody branch attachment in Schefflera (Aralliaceae or Apiaceae)

Hire Wire Press, Stanford University
Publication Type:
Journal Article
American Journal of Botany, 2005, 92 (11), pp. 1765 - 1773
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Attachment of branches in Schefflera is unusual in that it involves fingerlike woody extensions that originate in the cortex and pass gradually into the woody cylinder of the parent shoot. We tested the hypothesis that these structures could be roots since Schefflera is a hemi-epiphyte with aerial roots. These branch traces originate by secondary development in the many leaf traces (LTs) of the multilacunar node together with associated accessory traces. In the primary condition, the LTs may be described as cortical bundles. Leaves are long persistent and can maintain a primary stem connection across a broad cylinder of secondary xylem. Under the stimulus of branch development, the LTs form a template for secondary vascular development. Because the LT system is broad, with many traces, the branch attachment is also broad. The fingerlike extensions are attached to the surface of the woody cylinder of the parent stem but are progressively obscured as a continuous cambium is formed. Bark tissues are included within the branch axil because of the extended cortical origin of the initial attachment.
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