Ecological trends and relations to life forms

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Since all analyzed species are from the tropical zone, no ecological trends could be detected.

Tangentially enlarged parenchyma cells are characteristic of the cortex of all species (Fig. 13). Cell walls are often thickened like collenchyma (Fig. 13). The cortex of Piper nigrum contains a few lignified fibers and Piper methysticum contains a belt of smaller cells between the phloem and the cortex (Fig. 15). Half moon-shaped parenchyma/sieve tube groups stand outside the vessel/fiber strips of the xylem of both Piper species (Fig. 14). Between them are partially dilated parenchyma cells (Fig. 15). All species contain crystal sand (Fig. 16). Characteristic of Peperomia caperata are raphides (Fig. 17). Laticifers were found in the phloem of Piper nigrum (Fig. 14).

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Left Fig. 13. Collenchyma-like parenchyma cells of the cortex. Stem of a 100 cm-long, hanging, 2-4-year-old shoot, tropical greenhouse, Botanical Garden Basel, Switzerland.

Peperomia caperata, transverse section.

Right Fig. 14. Vascular bundle. Phloem pa with small sieve tubes, medium-sized parenchyma cells and few larger laticifers. The bundle is laterally linked with others by an intervascular cambium and externally delimitated from the cortex by a belt of thick-walled sclerenchyma cells. The cortex contains some thick-walled, lignified fibers. Stem of an 80 cm-high, 3-year-old shrub, tropical greenhouse, Botanical Garden Basel, Switzerland. Piper nigrum, transverse section.

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Fig. 17. Rhaphides in parenchymatic cells of the pith. Stem of a 100 cm-long, hanging, 2-4-year-old shoot, tropical greenhouse, Botanical Garden Basel, Switzerland. Peperomia caperata, transverse section, polarized light.

Fig. 15. The vascular bundle is laterally linked with others by an intervascular cambium. A belt of small cells devides the cortex. Stem of an 80 cm-high, 3-year-old shrub, tropical greenhouse, Botanical Garden Basel, Switzerland. Piper nigrum, transverse section.

Fig. 16. Crystal sand in parenchymatic cortex cells. Stem of an 80 cm-high, 3-year-old shrub, tropical greenhouse, Botanical Garden Basel, Switzerland. Piper nigrum, transverse section, polarized light.

Fig. 17. Rhaphides in parenchymatic cells of the pith. Stem of a 100 cm-long, hanging, 2-4-year-old shoot, tropical greenhouse, Botanical Garden Basel, Switzerland. Peperomia caperata, transverse section, polarized light.

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