Cycad Gelatinous Fibers in the American Journal of Botany

MBC’s Tracy Magellan and Patrick Griffith along with their colleague Barry Tomlinson (MBC & the Kampong) published an article in the latest issue of the American Journal of Botany on the distribution of gelatinous fibers in the radicle roots of the 10 cycad genera. The article was a follow up to the discovery of gelatinous fibers in the radicles of Cycas and Zamia, the first mention of gelatinous fibers in Cycadales.

In this paper, gelatinous fibers were found in all genera except Stangeria. Tertiary expansion was also observed within the xylem. This new anatomy discovery was rooted in traditional methods of observation. Roots were sliced with a sliding microtome, wet mounted, and observed in a compound microscope. There is still a lot of research to be done on the chemistry and the mechanism of root contraction, and we hope this paper fosters discussion and more research to be done on cycad root anatomy.

The MBC team is very grateful to the Kelly Foundation, which funded this project through the Kelly Botanical Research Fellows Program. This support brought Dr. Tomlinson from Massachusetts to work on the project at Montgomery Botanical Center.