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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X


HERMAN, SILVA; ACEVEDO, EDMUNDO  and  SILVA, PAOLA. Anatomy of the photosynthetic tissue in ten taxa of Opuntia established to the mediterranean arid zone of Chile. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2001, vol.74, n.2, pp.341-351. ISSN 0716-078X.

The anatomy of the photosynthetic tissue and the effect of cladode exposure to radiation was studied in ten taxa of Opuntia, plants with crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM), established in the dry lands of the IV Region of Chile. At the epidermic level the cuticle thickness, stomatal frequency, and dimension of guard cells were evaluated. In the photosynthetic tissue, cell dimensions were determined in order to estimate the area of cell walls exposed to gaseous exchange per unit of photosynthetic tissue (A mes/ A). The results indicate large cell dimensions and low stomata frequency which results in a reduced number of stomata per unit area in relation to species with other metabolic pathways (C3 and C4), The comparison between taxa shows significant differences in the relation of Ames/A areas, a parameter closely associated to the photosynthetic capacity and water use efficiency. The above anatomic characteristics of these plants in combination with pathway CAM contribute to their adaptation to limited rainfall conditions

Keywords : Opuntia spp; anatomy; cladodes; photosynthetic tissue; area relationship.

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