Foliar micromorphology and anatomy of Ugni molinae Turcz. (Myrtaceae), with particular reference to schizogenous secretory cavities
BACKGROUND: Ugni molinae Turcz. is one of the most studied species of South American Myrtaceae due to its edible fruits and foliar medicinal compounds. However, there is no anatomical study of the leaves or secretory cavities. This paper seeks to describe the leaf micromorphology and anatomy of the species using standard protocols for light and scanning electron microscopy. Secretory cavities were anatomically characterized in young and mature leaves. Histochemical staining of the cavities was performed. RESULTS: The leaves of U. molinae are hypostomatic, have a wavy surface and possess scattered hairs. Leaf anatomical features include dorsiventral mesophyll, two to three layers of palisade parenchyma with abundant chloroplasts, calcium oxalate crystals and internal phloem in vascular bundles. Schizogenous secretory cavities are present on the abaxial surface and are mainly located on the margins of the leaves. Histochemical tests of these cavities suggest the presence of lipophilic substances. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study of secretory cavities in Chilean Myrtaceae. In general, micromorphological and anatomical characters are similar to other species of the family. The present findings could provide valuable anatomical information for future research in South American Myrtaceae.