In the first volume of the new series of the ‚Encyclopedia of Plant Anatomy‘ dealing with tropical plants, the leaf structure of a tropical montane forest in Venezuela was investigated. The series is now continued with the description of the leaf anatomy of plants growing along the Venezuelan coastline. Emphasis is laid particularly on a coastal region the flora of which does not exist any more, as the plants had to give way to the construction of an airport.
Size and appearance of the plants is described, as well as the extent of their root systems. Phenology, dispersal and propagation are discussed. Leaf size and shape, leaf position and leaf movement are important features of the coastal plant communities. Equifaciality is considered a frequent characteristic of the strand vegetation. The C4-syndrome is frequently observed. Chloroplast migration within the sheath cells is described as a new phenomenon. Salt factor and succulence are discussed as well as leaf consistence. Density, position and size of stomata are studied. It is suggested that glandular hairs may have the function of water transportation in two opposite directions. The xeromorphic characteristics of the leaves are discussed and compared with those of plants from dryer regions in Venezuela. Finally, the four mangrove species indigenous to Venezuela are studied and structural variations in the leaves due to changing environmental conditions and salinity are discussed. An interpretation of the function of the slimy layer in the leaves of Rhizophora is attempted.
Emphasis is laid on the influence of ecological factors on the leaf structure in general.
Of interest to every botanist, specialists in forestry, paleobotanists, relevant research institutes, institutes for applied botany, institutes for wood research, agricultural colleges, science libraries.