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Open access

Elżbieta Weryszko-Chmielewska and Aneta Sulborska

Staminodial Nectary Structure in Two Pulsatilla (L.) Species

In plants belonging to the Ranunculaceae the floral nectaries may differ in origin, location in the flower, shape and structure. In many cases they are defined as modified tepals or modified stamens. The nectary organs in this family are frequently termed "honey leaves," and staminodial origin is attributed to them. Gynopleural and receptacular nectaries are rarely found in Ranunculaceae. To date there are no reports on the structure of the nectary organs in plants of the genus Pulsatilla. We used light and scanning electron microscopy to study the location and structure of the nectaries in Pulsatilla slavica and P. vulgaris flowers. The staminodial nectaries were found to be nectar-secreting organs. The number of stamens per flower (102-398) increases with plant age. The share of staminodes is 12-15%. The staminodes are composed of a filament and a modified head. They are green due to the presence of chloroplasts in the epidermal and parenchymal cells. The parenchymal cells are in a loose arrangement. Stomata (3-20), through which nectar exudation occurred, were found only in the abaxial epidermis of the staminode head. The stomata are evenly distributed and have well-developed outer cuticular ledges. Some of them are immature during nectar secretion, with their pores covered by a layer of cuticle. During the activity of the nectariferous organs in the flowers, primary (on the staminode surface) and secondary nectar (at the base of tepals) are presented. The staminodes of the two Pulsatilla species show similar structural features and have similar shares in the androecium.

Open access

Marta Dmitruk, Elżbieta Weryszko-Chmielewska and Aneta Sulborska

Abstract

Dracocephalum moldavica is a valuable reward plant for flower visitors. The aim of the study was to ecologically characterise its flowers and leaves and assess the seasonal and daily dynamics of flowering in two white- and blue-flowered forms of this species in 2004 and 2005. Additionally, the duration and abundance of plant flowering as well as the nectar amount and sugar content were analysed. The signalling attractants of the plant include an intense scent emitted by trichomes located not only on its flowers but also on its stem and leaf surfaces. The average corolla length is 24 mm and the corolla tube, which can be completely filled with nectar, is 8.6 mm long. The floral lifespan was shown to reach 2-3 days and the mean blooming duration of both forms of dragonhead 45-48 days. The white-flowered plants produced a substantially greater number of flowers (5352) than the blue-flowered form (2965). The nectar amount obtained from ten blue flowers was 15.33 mg and that extracted from white flowers reached 17.56 mg, with 49.4% and 51.5% content of sugar, respectively. The total sugar mass produced by one white-flowered plant was 4656 mg, while one blue-flowered plant yielded 2164 mg of sugars. The sugar yield calculated in the study for the white-flowered form (586 kg · ha−1) was two-fold higher than that in the blue-flowered plants.