An ultrastructural investigation of the surface microbiota present on the leaves and reproductive structures of the resurrection plant Myrothamnus flabellifolia
The leaves, flower and stems of the southern African angiosperm resurrection plant Myrothamnus flabellifolia were investigated at the ultrastructural level to determine the source of previously reported fungal contamination. Fungal mycelia and hyphae of the genera Aspergillus and Penicillium were found localized to the hydathodes of the leaves and stigmatic surfaces of the female flowers in both desiccated and hydrated specimens. A waxy bacterium of the genus Bacillus was found to colonise the waxy epidermal surfaces of the leaves and flowers which was also where fungal cells were found to be absent. It is suggested that the wax like deposits within the leaves and stems as well as over the epidermal surface prevent the growth of the fungal organisms. These fungi opportunistically invade moist surfaces, such as the floral stigmas, during periods of moisture availability and may thus negatively impact plant development. © 2010 SAAB.