Images were captured of the most
informative sections indicating structural change through the TuNR. Analysis of these images corroborated previous
assertions about the diminutive role that vascular tissue plays as a conductive
system and the magnified role in mechanical structure (Billings 1904, Scantena
2004). Sclerenchyma contributes to the
mechanical strength of the stem; making up a large part of the tensile core.
Five to six vascular bundles can be seen in the center of the sclerenchyma
(Fig. 4a). These bundles contain xylem elements, and phloem (Fig. 4a, 4b). The
phloem is located external to the xylem. In the center there is a
parenchymatous pith. Just before the node there is a change in appearance of
the stele (Fig.4d ). The uniform distribution of sclerenchyma around the
vascular bundles has changed and here the sclerenchyma appears to group
opposite the phloem (Fig. 4e). A sheath is formed around the vascular bundles.
The new shoots divide one half being the leaf trace (Fig. 4c), with the other
portion of vascular bundles producing a concave sclerenchyma cap as opposed to
a convex one on the leaf trace. Sclerenchyma is lost progressively with each
more distal section (Fig.4g &4h). In longitudinal sections, the stem
appears to divide in two (Fig.4g&h). One section is a grown out axillary
bud (that will be the new plant) while the other is the mother plant axis.
Data from this study
suggests that as the strand grows downward there seems to be a
progressive loss of sclerenchyma, xylem and differentiated tissue (Figs. 4g-h).
While undifferentiated tissue near apical meristem is normal, it is unusual in mature
elongated internodes. This undifferentiated tissue leaves a point of weakness between
individual strands within the nodes. This point of weakness could be an intercalary
meristem like that of bamboo. That would account for the undifferentiated
histological analysis is imperative to understand the structural reason for the
breaking point within the TuNR. The future objective is to further elucidate
the tissue structure within the TuNR which allows the plant to modulate
breaking strength. In order to make a rigorous determination other microtechniques
will be employed such as freeze fixation to view the internal structures of
Spanish moss in SEM (Amado 2002). Additional transverse sections of the
paraffin imbedded TuNRs will also be prepared. These sections will be
reconstruction in order to produce a three-dimensional view and resolve the structure
of the tissues.