Background and Aims
To date, the structure of the nectary spur of Aeridinae has not been studied in detail, and data relating to the nectaries of ornithophilous orchids remain scarce. The present paper compares the structural organization of the floral nectary in a range of Aeridinae species, including both entomophilous and ornithophilous taxa.
Nectary spurs of Ascocentrum ampullaceum (Roxb.) Schltr. var. aurantiacum Pradhan, A. curvifolium (Lindl.) Schltr., A. garayi Christenson, Papilionanthe vandarum (Rchb.f.) Garay, Schoenorchis gemmata (Lindl.) J.J. Sm., Sedirea japonica (Rchb.f.) Garay & H.R. Sweet and Stereochilus dalatensis (Guillaumin) Garay were examined by means of light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy.
Key Results and Conclusions
The diverse anatomy of the nectary is described for a range of Aeridinae species. All species of Ascocentrum investigated displayed features characteristic of ornithophilous taxa. They have weakly zygomorphic, scentless, red or orange flowers, display diurnal anthesis, possess cryptic anther caps and produce nectar that is secluded in a relatively massive nectary spur. Unicellular, secretory hairs line the lumen at the middle part of the spur. Generally, however, with the exception of Papilionanthe vandarum, the nectary spurs of all entomophilous species studied here (Schoenorchis gemmata, Sedirea japonica, Stereochilus dalatensis) lack secretory trichomes. Moreover, collenchymatous secretory tissue, present only in the nectary spur of Asiatic Ascocentrum species, closely resembles that found in nectaries of certain Neotropical species that are hummingbird-pollinated and assigned to subtribes Maxillariinae Benth., Laeliinae Benth. and Oncidiinae Benth. This similarity in anatomical organization of the nectary, regardless of geographical distribution and phylogeny, indicates convergence.