, Volume 134, Issue 3, pp 241-249

Phyllotactic transitions in the vascular system of Populus deltoides bartr. as determined by 14C labeling

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Populus deltoides seedlings progress through 2/5, 3/8, and 5/13 orders of phyllotaxis in attaining Plastochron Index 16 (PI 16). The manner in which the vascular system was reoriented during these phyllotactic transitions was determined by anatomical analysis of serial microsections, whereas the positions of the transitions were determined by 14C labeling. The midvein at the tip of leaves representing plants of different PI and leaves of different Leaf Plastochron Index (LPI) was fed 14CO2 photosynthetically, and primordia LPI 0 through LPI-9 were dissected from the buds and analyzed for 14C. By combining the labeling data with the anatomical observations it was possible to reconstruct the vascular system of a plant of PI 16 and to locate the phyllotactic transitions. Both the anatomical and the labeling data showed a high degree of reproducibility among plants suggesting that the phyllotactic pattern to which the vascular system conforms may be programmed in the plant and transmitted acropetally through the developing leaves and procambial strands. The origin of new primordia and the concepts of orthostichy, ontogenetic helix, and Fibonacci sequence are discussed as they apply to the vascular system of P. deltoides.