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How common is the ability of extrafloral nectaries to produce nectar droplets, to secrete nectar during the night and to store starch?


  • Editor
    A. Weber

K. P. Gaffal, Brunnenstr. 20, D-91336 Heroldsbach, Germany.


Evidence in favour of the ability of extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) to form nectar drop(let)s, secrete extrafloral nectar (EFNec) also during the night and store starch was compiled in order to refute controversial assertions. Not only were more than 150 reports of direct observations of EFNec drop(let)s found, but also 90 studies which suggest that EFNec secretion is copious enough to form drop(let)s automatically by forces of physics (surface tension strength), provided nectar accumulation is not interrupted by predatory animals. Twenty direct observations of nocturnal production of EFNec sufficiently proved that it is not always produced during the day. Additionally, numerous observations of the nocturnal activities of nectar consumers on EFNs indirectly indicated very common nocturnal secretion of EFNec. Although there is an early report of a starch-containing EFN from 1881 (Trelease), few similar observations in other EFNs followed. Nevertheless, four studies have described the disappearance of stored starch during secretion and senescence of the EFNs. Referring back to an apparent relationship between the degradation of starch stored in a floral nectary and programmed cell death, at least in EFNs with transient storage of starch, a similar relationship cannot be excluded.