Transfer cells in the seeds of Boraginales

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2002
Authors:Diane, N., H. H. Hilger, M. Gottschling
Journal:Bot. J. Linn. Soc.

The presence of transfer cells (TCs) in the seeds of Boraginales (Boraginaceae s.s., Hydrophyllaceae, Heliotropiaceae, Ehretiaceae, Cordiaceae and Lennoaceae) has been reported but has not hitherto been studied systematically. This study, surveying the seed anatomy of 50 species of Boraginales, demonstrates that in Heliotropiaceae, Cordiaceae, Ehretiaceae and Lennoaceae, TCs are found in an uninterrupted course from the placenta via the funicle to the seed coat. These families are characterized by indehiscent fruits with a protective endocarp. The TCs may act as a sponge, thus promoting rapid germination when sufficient water is available. In Hydrophyllaceae, which have capsular fruits, TCs are often found but have a different structure and are restricted to the seed coat. Boraginaceae s.s. on the other hand are characterized by a complete absence of TCs in their seeds. The presence of TCs in seeds is considered as a synapomorphic trait and appears to be phylogenetically informative.

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