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The morphology and anatomy of the foliar nectaries and associated leaves offour species of Mallotus (Euphorbiaceae) were studied. Light microscopic observations of paraffin- and plastic-embedded specimens were complemented with scanning electron micrographs. Leaf anatomy of the four species is typical of large mesophytic plants. Aattened foliar nectaries are shown to be composed of specialized epidermal cells. The nonvascularized nectaries consist of narrow columnar cells each with a large nucleus, numerous vacuoles, and dense cytoplasm. Subglandular parenchyma cells have more pronounced nuclei, more vacuoles and denser cytoplasm than do typical laminar parenchyma. Structurally, these nectaries are similar to those found in other taxa of Euphorbiaceae and in other families of flowering plants. Brief field observations confirmed that ants are readily attracted to the nectar and probably function in a mutualistic relationship with the plants. The actual mechanism of nectar secretion was not studied.

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© 1985 Thomas S. Elias, Sun An-Ci

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