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Analele tiinifice ale Universitii Al. I.

Cuza Iai
Tomul LIII, s. II a. Biologie vegetal, 2007


Abstract: The study deals with the morphology, structure and distribution of laticifers in the vegetative
organs of some Euphorbia species from the Romanian flora. Our histo-anatomical researches pointed out
the presence of laticifers in all the vegetative organs (root, rhizome, aerial stem, leaf), being well
represented in certain parenchymatous tissues and the secondary phloem. In all the analyzed organs, the
laticifers of variable size have only primary wall, generally thicker than that of the adjacent cells. In the
stem of certain investigated taxa, some laticifers resemble with the secretory ducts, because they are
surrounded by two or more concentric layers of meristematic or mechanic cells.
Key words: Euphorbia, anatomy, vegetative organs, laticifers

Laticifers defined as a specialized cell or a row of cells containing latex (Fahn,
1979) (cf. Rudall, 1987) have been the object of intensive study since the early days of
Plant Anatomy (De Bary, 1884; Sperlich, 1939) (cf. Esau, 1965) and among the plants with
non-articulated laticifers, Euphorbia (Euphorbiaceae Juss.) is the most studied genus, the
fundamental theory of the origin and development of the laticifers being established by
Mahlberg & Sabharwal (1967) in Euphorbia marginata. Data concerning the morphology,
structure and distribution of laticifers may be found in some ample papers which analyze
the anatomy of Euphorbiaceae family (Gaucher, 1902; Metcalfe & Chalk, 1972; Esau,
Until us (Gale & Toma, 2006), the Romanian literature of the field does not include
any study exclusively on the morphology, structure and distribution of laticifers in
Euphorbia species.
The present paper follows our histo-anatomical researches on the laticifers, here
being investigated over 8 Euphorbia taxa from the Romanian flora.
Material and Methods
The material used in the study belongs to 8 Euphorbia taxa (E. falcata ssp.
acuminata (Lam.) Simonkai, E. maculata L., E. bazargica Prod., E. nicaeensis All., E.
carniolica Jacq., E. agraria var. euboea (Halcsy) Hay, E.virgata W. et K., E. peplus L.)
collected from different parts of Romania (Dobruja, Moldavia, Transylvania).
The material subject to analysis (root, rhizome, aerial stem and leaf) has been fixed
and preserved in 70% ethylic alcohol, cross-sectioned with Ranvier microtome and

Al. I. Cuza University, Faculty of Biology, Carol I Avenue, 20A, Iassy, 700506
ramonarotari@yahoo.com, ctoma@uaic.ro


coloured with iodine green and ruthenium red. The surface sections of foliar limb were
coloured with iodine green. For the evidence of the latex presence, some transverse sections
were coloured with Sudan red solution.
The permanent slides have been analyzed with a Novex (Holland) microscope and
photographed on the same microscope with a Sanyo digital camera.
Our histo-anatomical investigations pointed out that the laticifers are present in all
the vegetative organs of all the analyzed taxa. Laticifers present constant characters
(nonarticulated, ramified, polygonal shape in transverse section, cellulosic wall) as well as
variable ones (the size, the thick of the walls, the distribution and the frequency in the plant
tissues and organs, their presence in some particular structures).
In the subterranean vegetative organs with secondary structure, the laticifers are
bounded by a uniformly thick cellulosic wall and are localized in the inner part of the
cortex and in the secondary phloem, being more numerous in the rhizome (Pl. I, fig. 1) than
in the root (Pl. I, fig. 2).
In the aerial stem, the laticifers are numerous in the cortex, being well represented in
the inner part of the cortical parenchyma around the cordons of sclerenchymatous fibers
or even in their thickness (Pl. I, fig. 3). A few laticifers may be observed in the secondary
phloem and pith.
In the stem of E. virgata, laticifers are present in some particular structures as
follows: 1. structures which look like the secretory ducts - placed in the medulary rays of
the secondary xylem and formed by a laticifer surrounded by meristematic cells (Pl. I., fig.
4) or by a layer of parenchymatous cells and more concentric layers of mechanic elements
with sclerified and lignified walls (Pl. II, fig. 5); 2. structures localized in the inner part of
the cortical parenchyma which comprise a vascular bundle surrounded by laticifers and
sclerenchymatous fibers (Pl. II, fig. 6).
The stems laticifers have uniformly thick cellulosic walls, except for E. virgata,
whose walls are thin; in the stems cortex of E. nicaeensis, the laticifers are grouped, the
common wall of two adjacent laticifers presenting centripetal thickenings of buttonhole
shape (Pl. II, fig. 7).
In the foliar limb (Pl. II, fig. 8), the laticifers are localized in the median nervure
(generally, in the close proximity of the phloem of median vascular bundle) as well as in
the mesophylle (especially in the lacunary tissue, from where, branches of those penetrate
in the palisadic tissue).
The diameter of laticifers is variable in the different taxa, in the same taxa, in the
same organ and even in the same tissue. In the root, the laticifers are in generally big. In the
phloem of the rhizome, two types of laticifers may be observed some of them, which are
localized in the outer part of the secondary phloem are very big and the other ones are very
small. In the stem, laticifers are in generally big, except for of E. maculata (Pl. III, fig. 9),
in which, in the cortex, there are laticifers of big and also very small size. In the foliar limb,
the laticifers of the median nervure are bigger than those of the mesophyll.


In the longitudinal section, the laticifers appear like long, nonarticulated and
ramified tubes, (Pl. III, fig. 10). The mode of laticifers branching can be observed through
transparency, in the surface section of foliar limb (Pl. III, fig. 11); their branches do not
form a network.
Generally, after the preparation of the vegetal material, the latex comes out from the
sections. Thats way the majority of the laticifers appear as vide cells and only in some of
them the latex persists; in the latest ones, after the coloration with Sudan red solution, the
latex appears as a red mass of granular type (Pl. III, fig. 12).

In all the (subterranean and aerial) vegetative organs of the analyzed taxa, laticifers
may be observed.
The laticifers are always nonarticulated and ramified, generally being localized in the
cortical parenchyma and in the secondary phloem and rarely in the secondary xylem and
pith. The laticifers are numerous in all the vegetative organs, except for the root.
The walls of the laticifers are cellulosic, being uniformly thick in the majority of the
analyzed taxa, excepting E. virgata, in which they are thin. In E. nicaeensis the common
wall of two adjacent laticifers presents centripetal thickenings of buttonhole shape.
In E. virgata, the laticifers resemble with to secretory ducts.
1. ESAU, KATHERINE, 1965 - Plant Anatomy (ed. 2), John Wiley and Sons, New York, London, Sydney, 318337
2. FINERAN,, B. A., 1981 - Distribution and organization of non-articulated laticifers in mature tissues of
Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd.), Ann. Bot., 50: 207-220
3. FINERAN, B. A., 1983 - Differentiation of non-articulated laticifers in Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima
Willd.), Ann. Bot., 52: 279-293
4. GALE, RAMONA CRINA, TOMA, 2006 Morfologia i distribuia laticiferelor n organele vegetative ale
unor specii de Euphorbia L. din flora Romniei. Lucr. t. Univ. t. agr. i med. vet. Ion Ionescu de la
BradIai, ser. Hortic., 1 (49): 21-26
5. GAUCHER, L., 1902 - Recherches anatomiques sur les Euphorbiaces, Ann. des Sci.Nat., sr.8, Bot., 15,
6. MAHLBERG P. G., SABHARWAL, P. S., 1967 Mitosis in non-articulated laticifer of Euphorbia marginata,
Am. J. Bot., 54, 465-472
7. METCALFE, C. R., 1966 - Distribution of latex in the plant kingdom, Notes Jodrell Lab., 3:1-18
8. METCALFE, C. R., CHALK, L., 1972 - Anatomy of the Dicotyledons, II, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1207-1235
9. NAPP-ZINN, Kl., 1973,1974 - Anatomie des Blattes. II. Angiospermen, In Handbuch der Pflanzenanatomie,
Band VIII, A. 1-2., Gebrder Borntraeger, Berlin, Stuttgart
10. RUDALL, PAULA J., 1987, - Laticifers in Euphorbiaceae-a conspectus, Bot. J. Linn. Soc., 94:143-16
11. ERBNESCU-JITARIU, GABRIELA, TOMA, C. 1980 - Morfologia i anatomia plantelor, Ed. did. si ped.,
12. TOMA C., GOSTIN IRINA, 2000 - Histologie vegetal, Ed. Junimea, Iai


Ramona Crina Gale, C. Toma

Plate I

Explanation of figures (orig. photos) (scale bars = 50 m)

1- Cross section of the E. nicaeensiss rhizom
2- Cross section of the E. virgata root
3- Cross section of the E. falcata ssp. acuminata aerial stem (upper level)
4 Cross section of the E. virgata aerial stem (upper level)


Ramona Crina Gale, C. Toma

Plate II

Explanation of figures (orig. photos) (scale bars = 50 m)

5, 6 Cross sections of the E. virgata aerial stem (upper level)
7- Cross section of the E. nicaeensis aerial stem (upper level)
8- Cross section of the E. agraria var. euboea foliar limb


Ramona Crina Gale, C. Toma

Plate III



Explanation of figures (orig. photos) (scale bars = 50 m)

9- Cross section of the E. maculata aerial stem (middle level)
10- Cross section of the of E. agraria var. euboea aerial stem (upper level))
11- Surface section of the E. virgata foliar limb (adaxial side
12- Cross section of the E. agraria var. euboea aerial stem (middle level)