The purpose of this research was to: (1) document the path of internal airflow, (2) describe and quantify tissues of internal airflow, and (3) determine if the amounts of aerenchyma in leaves, stems, and roots are relatively constant among plants of Rhizophora stylosa. Cork warts of leaves (average of 10.1 cork warts per mm2 of leaf surface) are sites of air uptake. Cork warts deliver air to aerenchyma tissues near adaxial leaf surfaces (30% of total leaf volume). Air becomes pressurized within illuminated leaf blade aerenchyma by hygrometric pressurization and this air enters the petiole aerenchyma. In turn, the petiole aerenchyma joins the stem aerenchyma (5.5% of total stem area). Air descends the stem aerenchyma and then passes to the inner aerenchyma of stilt roots (about 15% of root cross-sectional area). Air descends in the inner aerenchyma of roots and eventually enters the smallest roots growing in anoxic substrates. From these terminal portions of roots, air ascends the outer aerenchyma of roots (73% of root area) where it may be released to the substrate via lenticels. If the amounts of aerenchyma in all leaves, stems, and stilt roots for whole plants are well correlated, it would further suggest that the relative amounts of these organs are specially suited for internal airflow. Data from 13 plants show that total aerenchyma volume of all leaves was highly correlated with total volume of aerenchyma in all stems for whole plants. Moreover, total volume of aerenchyma in all stems was highly correlated with total volume of outer aerenchyma in all roots for whole plants. Taken together, these data document the path of internal airflow in plants of Rhizophora stylosa and indicate that leaf, stem, and root growth are well regulated in plants of various sizes in accordance with this internal airflow.
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Vol. 135 • No. 1