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The Crassulaceae family mainly comprises herbaceous leaf succulents, some of which are used as ornamentals. The development of the embryo suspensor in Sedum reflexum L. was investigated using cytochemical methods, light and electron microscopy. The full development and functioning of the suspensor occurs during the late globular and heart-stage embryos. The suspensor consists of a large basal cell and a single row of 6-10 chalazal cells. The basal cell produces a branched haustorium which invades ovular tissues. The walls of the haustorium and the micropylar part of the basal cell form the wall ingrowths that are typical for transfer cells. The dense cytoplasm filling the basal cell is rich in profiles of endoplasmic reticulum, active dictyosomes, mitochondria, plastids, microtubules, bundles of microfilaments, microbodies and lipid droplets. The present work reveals that the suspensor structure in S. reflexum markedly differs from that found in other representatives of Crassulaceae. Ultrastructural analysis and cytochemical tests (including proteins, insoluble polysaccharides and lipids) indicate that in S. reflexum the embryo suspensor is involved mainly in absorption and transport of metabolites from the ovular tissues to the developing embryo proper via the chalazal suspensor cells.
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