Peculiar anatomical traits, high durability, and potential ornamental use of Cyclanthaceae as fresh foliage

<div><p>ABSTRACT Wild plant species with potential for use as ornamental green foliage are often reported. Nevertheless, there are few studies evaluating morphological and anatomical aspects associated with this use. Preliminary trials suggest that the species of Sphaeradenia (Sander ex Mast.) Harling, a Cyclantaceae that occurs from Costa Rica to Peru, is suitable to be used as fresh foliage because of attractiveness of their leaves in vase and its durability without showing tissue damage, compared with other genera of this family. Through the study of anatomical characters, it is possible to predict the potential of a species that can serve as ornamental foliage. In this study, three foliar anatomical features (thickness of the cuticle and leaf, and percentage of fibers in the mesophyll) of seven Cyclanthaceae species were evaluated, using anatomical techniques and image analysis with the LUCIA® and ImageJ softwares. Statistical analysis of the results suggests that this high durability is associated with the thickness of the cuticle and mesophyll, but not with the amount of fibers in the leaf.</p></div>