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Thread: Lollons

  1. #9

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    Mention leaves or roots in association with Utricularia and someone will jump out of the bushes to correct you, wait and see! This is a very highly evolved genus, and they in fact do not have leaves or roots. I can accept someone referring to leaves for simpliciy's sake, but there is really no distinction in this structure from any other part of the stolon, it is interchangable with any other part of the plant, depending on its substrate orientation, if I have it right. A stolon can morph into a leaf and vs vs. To me this is a very distinct botanical quality, and one lacking in plants of other genera where a leaf is a leaf, and a root is a root. So, I doff my cap to this genus and will not demote it's uniqueness. I stand by rolons, stolons and lolons and think that special structures deserve special names that more accurately reflect their function while granting their morphological similarities.

    What I am interested in is the process governing the actual production of the traps. I have noted trap formation on the lolons of several species. I have also noted stolon production from the lolons. Stolons placed on the surface of the substrate easily morph into lolons. I wonder if an actual bladder could likewise morph into a lolon given the right environmental cue, or produce a stolon, but I would wager it could. What a fascinating study this would make if we could examine the gene transcription governing this differentiation into more specialized structures. What produces an apical tendency in a stolon at some particular point on its length to generate a lolon?

    I also am curious of why traps are produced. The traps are very specialized, and have true digestive capabilities. Their structure is vastly different from all other parts of the plant. It's not just a matter of the bladders having microbes inside them which make the nutrients available to the plant, since axenic cultures still demonstrate digestive capability. But, they can form anywhere on the plant! I am curious as to why.

    Giles, does the paper you list get into this? I sure would love to read that one if it does.
    "Grow More, Share More"

  2. #10

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    Tamlin,
    I very strongly recommend that you get hold of a copy of the paper. It is really a review and discussion of the concept of fuzzy morphology, in which the boundaries between organs are blurred (as opposed to classical morphology, with discrete categories of roots, leaves, stems etc.), but it takes Utricularia as a case study in a lot of depth, with many illustrations of meristems etc.

    To say that Utricularia lacks roots & leaves, and is therefore composed of modified stems/stolons is an oversimplification. They point out the similarity between Pinguicula roots (atypically lacking root caps) and stolons of eg. U. longifolia, which have a similar arrangement of vascular tissue. I don't know much about Genlisea, not growing it myself, but it could well be that the trap 'leaves' really have at least a partial origin in roots, and likewise for Utricularia 'stolons'. I accept that Utricularia does not have 'classical' roots & leaves, but it doesn't have 'classical' stolons either. My main point is that Utricularia have not 'lost' leaves & roots, they have rather merged their vegetative organs together to produce a morphology that doesn't fit into classical morphological boxes. This is found in many other species as well,to some extent, as in compound leaves which may have stem characteristics. Another example is the climbing fern Lygodium, where the 'leaves' have indeterminate growth like a stem, so it is impossible to distinguish separate leaves & stems.

    Giles

  3. #11
    gardenofeden's Avatar
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    I dont think people should be making up stupid names like 'lolons', this is just going to cause confusion
    Stephen
    Sarracenia rosea?...don't be ridiculous!

  4. #12

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    Giles,

    Thanks for the information. The paper sounds very interesting indeed and I will see if I can secure a copy of this.
    I see the sense of what you are saying, and am interested in learning more.

    gardenofeden:

    As to new words (whether stupid or no) words are coined to fit concepts, which is how language evolves. Language is not determined by a dictionary, but rather by common usage. Let posterity judge the stupidity of my new words, but for the purposes of speaking in the here and now with my friends and associates, I will continue with their use, with apology to those not so inclined. If you want to call them leaves, roots and stems that's fine by me, and I can respect your opinion (and not think you stupid).

    Well, time to galumph off as I chortle merrily away!
    "Grow More, Share More"

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