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Rhizophores in Rhizophora mangle L: an alternative interpretation of so-called ''aerial roots''

Author(s): Menezes Nanuza L. de

Journal: Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências
ISSN 0001-3765

Volume: 78;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 213;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Keywords: Rhizophora mangle L | aerial roots | stilt roots

Rhizophora mangle L., one of the most common mangrove species, has an aerial structure system that gives it stability in permanently swampy soils. In fact, these structures, known as "aerial roots" or "stilt roots", have proven to be peculiar branches with positive geotropism, which form a large number of roots when in contact with swampy soils. These organs have a sympodial branching system, wide pith, slightly thickened cortex, collateral vascular bundles, polyarch stele and endarch protoxylem, as in the stem, and a periderm produced by a phellogen at the apex similar to a root cap. They also have the same type of trichosclereid that occurs in the stem, with negative geotropism, unlike true Rhizophora roots, which do not form trichosclereids at all. On the other hand, these branches do not form leaves and in this respect they are similar to roots. These peculiar branches are rhizophores or special root-bearing branches, analogous to those found in Lepidodendrales and other Carboniferous tree ferns that grew in swampy soils.
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