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Structure and Ultrastructure of the Tracheary Elements of Asplenium (Pteridophyta) from the “Yungas”, Argentina

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The structure of root and rhizome tracheary cells of Asplenium spp. (Filicales, Pteridophyta) growing in NW Argentina was studied using light microscopy (LM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). In all cases, tracheary cells consisted of tracheids with various facets, mainly with scalariform pitting. With SEM, intertracheary pit membranes appeared smooth and non porose in most cases. In some instances, porose or web-like to thread-like pit membranes were noticed in rhizome tracheids. Under TEM secondary walls displayed a smooth and uniform appearance. Pit membranes showed a variation in thickness in presumed association with their maturation stage. More mature tracheary cells showed pit membranes with a mesh-like aspect and visible openings or pores. These characteristics are attributed to pit membrane hydrolysis, which facilitates water transport among tracheary cells.


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