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Ecological adaptations of the floral structures of Galanthus nivalis L.

Weryszko-Chmielewska, Elżbieta, Chwil, Mirosława
Galanthus nivalis, air, cell nucleus, color, essential oils, flowering, fluorescence, fluorescence microscopy, mesophyll, microstructure, odors, perianth, protoplasts, scanning electron microscopy, secretion, spring, stomata, vacuoles
The structure of the flowers of Galanthus nivalis shows adaptations to early spring flowering conditions as well as adaptations to entomogamy. The tepals produce colour marks and odorous substances. The aim of the present study was to determine the micromorphology and anatomy of tepals, in particular in the regions comprising colour marks which, in accordance with the literature data, emit essential oils. Examination was performed using light, fluorescence, and scanning electron microscopy. Large protrusions, corresponding to the location of the green stripes, were found to occur on the adaxial surface of the inner tepals. The epidermal cells in this part of the tepals produce a cuticle with characteristic ornamentation as well as numerous stomata with well-developed outer cuticular ledges. The wide opening of many stomata is evidence of high activity in this area. The fluorescence microscopy images confirm the high activity of the epidermis (scent emission), on both sides of the tepals, as well as of the chloroplast- containing mesophyll. In the abaxial epidermis, there were observed different-sized papillae that also participated in essential oil secretion. The polarization of the epidermal cell protoplasts, large cell nuclei, and the presence of large vacuoles with heterogeneous contents in the peripheral part of the cells correspond to the structural features of the tissues emitting odorous compounds in flowers - osmophores. In freshly opened flowers, the mesophyll of the central part of the perianth segments was composed of several cell layers, whereas in older flowers large air ducts formed, which are adaptations to environmental thermal conditions.