Floral nectar production and carbohydrate composition and the structure of receptacular nectaries in the invasive plant Bunias orientalis L. (Brassicaceae).
The data relating to the nectaries and nectar secretion in invasive Brassicacean taxa are scarce. In the present paper, the nectar production and nectar carbohydrate composition as well as the morphology, anatomy and ultrastructure of the floral nectaries in Bunias orientalis were investigated. Nectary glands were examined using light, fluorescence, scanning electron and transmission electron microscopy. The quantities of nectar produced by flowers and total sugar mass in nectar were relatively low. Total nectar carbohydrate production per 10 flowers averaged 0.3 mg. Nectar contained exclusively glucose (G) and fructose (F) with overall G/F ratio greater than 1. The flowers of B. orientalis have four nectaries placed at the base of the ovary. The nectarium is intermediate between two nectary types: the lateral and median nectary type (lateral and median glands stay separated) and the annular nectary type (both nectaries are united into one). Both pairs of glands represent photosynthetic type and consist of epidermis and glandular tissue. However, they differ in their shape, size, secretory activity, dimensions of epidermal and parenchyma cells, thickness of secretory parenchyma, phloem supply, presence of modified stomata and cuticle ornamentation. The cells of nectaries contain dense cytoplasm, plastids with starch grains and numerous mitochondria. Companion cells of phloem lack cell wall ingrowths. The ultrastructure of secretory cells indicates an eccrine mechanism of secretion. Nectar is exuded throughout modified stomata.