Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems

The opening and shedding mechanism of the female cones of Pinus radiata

R Allen and AB Wardrop

Australian Journal of Botany 12(2) 125 - 134
Published: 1964


The opening of the female cones of P. radiata has been shown to result from differential shrinkage between the adaxial vascular tissue and the abaxial sclerenchyma of the cone scale. The organization of the secondary wall of the tracheids typically consists of three helically organized concentric layers. In the outer and inner layers the microfibrillar orientation is approximately transverse, and in the middle layer the helix makes an angle of c. 40° with the longitudinal cell axis. In the sclerenchyma the secondary wall consists of wide layers in which the microfibrils of the lamellae are almost transverse to the longitudinal cell axis, alternating with narrow layers in which the microfibrils of the lamellae are almost parallel to the cell axis. Opening is preceded by a severance of the vascular connection between the cone and the stem or branch by the occlusion of the lurnina of the tracheids of the peduncle with resin. As radial growth of the stem proceeds, small fissures develop between the xylem of the stem or branch and that of the cone peduncle. The fissures become filled with resin and there is a progressive erosion of the tracheids of the peduncle until ultimately the xylem of the peduncle is separated from that of the stem or branch.

© CSIRO 1964

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