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Ground parenchyma cells play a crucial role in the growth and the mechanical properties of bamboo plants. Investigation of the morphology of ground parenchyma cells is essential for understanding the physiological functions and mechanical properties of these cells. This study aimed to characterize the anatomical structure of bamboo ground parenchyma cells and provide a qualitative and quantitative basis for the more effective utilization of bamboo. To do this, the morphology of ground parenchyma cells in Moso bamboo (Phyllostachys edulis) was studied using light microscopy and field-emission environmental scanning electron microscopy. Results show that various geometric shapes of ground parenchyma cells were observed, including nearly circular, square, long, oval, and irregular shapes. Cell walls of both long and short parenchyma cells exhibited primary wall thickening and secondary wall thickening, resulting in a primary pit field and simple pits. Most long cells were strip-shaped (L/W = 2.52), while most short cells were short and wide (L/W = 0.59). The proportion of long cells was 11 times greater than that of short cells. Most long cells were filled with starch grains, and some short cells also occasionally had starch grains. These findings allowed the first construction of the three-dimensional structure of parenchyma cells.

In: IAWA Journal


The flow of xylem sap in bamboo is closely associated with metaxylem vessels and the pits in their cell walls. These pits are essential components of the water-transport system and are key intercellular pathways for transverse permeation of treatment agents related to utilization. Observations of metaxylem vessels and pits in moso bamboo culm internodes were carried out using environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) to examine mature bamboo fractures and resin casts. The results showed that bordered pits were distributed in relation to adjacent cell types with most pits between vessels and parenchyma cells and few pits between vessels and fibers of the bundle sheath. The pit arrangement was mainly opposite to alternate with apertures ranging from oval, flattened elliptical, or slit-like to coalescent. The vertical dimensions of inner apertures and outer apertures of the pits were about 0.9–2.7 μm and 1.1–3.8 μm, respectively. According to the relative position, and size difference between the inner apertures and their borders, the bordered pit shapes were categorized into three types, namely PI, PII and PIII (). Half-bordered pit pairs were observed between vessels and direct contact parenchyma cells. Most vessel elements possessed simple perforation plates.

In: IAWA Journal


Not only are vessel pits vital for the passage of sap into adjacent cells, but their anatomical morphology is also used as a tool to identify bamboo species. However, detailed studies comparing the pits’ structural parameters in culms of species with three rhizome types: sympodial bamboo, amphipodial bamboo, and monopodial bamboo, are lacking. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) observations were conducted to obtain the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of vessel pits in sympodial, amphipodial and monopodial bamboos, from twelve bamboo species in eight genera. Sympodial bamboos possess small and ovoid bordered pits, whereas amphipodial bamboos contain an abundance of slit-like pits, with the greatest pit membrane length occurring in the vessel wall. Both minute and large pit sizes can be found in monopodial bamboos. This study identified the first compound pits ever to be found in a bamboo species and these were found to occur more frequently in amphipodial and monopodial bamboos than in sympodial bamboos. Using the distribution frequency of the pit chamber’s horizontal diameter, we were able to determine pit size as being either small, medium or large. The striking differences in the vessel pits’ qualitative and quantitative characteristics could be the result of different climate and environmental factors.

In: IAWA Journal