Comparative study of the mode of leaflet separation in Chamaedorea Spp. (Arecaceae)
Leaf development in the palm family (Arecaceae) is unique and unlike any observed in other angiosperms. The objectives of this study were to follow leaf ontogeny in 'Chamaedorea elegans' and 'Chamaedorea seifrizii' and to determine whether abscission plays a role in leaflet separation. Although previous studies indicated that abscission may be a mechanism by which leaflets separate, details of the process are lacking. The results of our study show that leaflet separation in these pinnate species occurs through similar processes although the anatomy of the separation site varies. Leaflet separation in both species occurs through the following three general steps: (1) schizogeny, (2) mechanical rupture, and (3) deposition of protective substances. Since these processes are present in 'typical' abscission, we propose that leaflet separation in these species occurs by an 'abscission-like process'. 'Chamaedorea fragrans' and 'Chamaedorea stolonifera ' were also studied to determine the difference in the formation of bifid leaves.