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THE PERIDERM DEVELOPMENT IN QUERCUS SUBER

José Graça, Helena Pereira

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In the cork oak (Quercus suber L.), the phellogen differentiates during the first year of growth in the cell layer immediately under the epidermis and divides to form 3–6 suberized phellem cells. Division of the phellogen only occurs after suberization of the previous divided cell. During the first four years of growth, the phellem cells have tannin-filled lumens and it is only in the 5th to 7th years that they acquire the characteristics of ʻadultʼ cork cells with empty lumens and thin suberized walls. The lenticels are formed by the lenticular phellogen, which differentiates under the stomata and has a high meristematic activity. In this region, the cells are unsuberized, with a loose arrangement and intercellular voids, constituting the filling or complementary tissue. After three years, the lenticels appear as small protuberances that soon become conspicuous. Inclusions of sclerenchymatous nodules and isolated sclereids occur occasionally mostly in the vicinity of, or in, the lenticels.