Colchicine is an alkaloid with antimitotic properties, which has been used for polyploidy induction in plant breeding. However, rather limited information is known about the potential biological effects that this compound might induce in plant cells in vivo. This study aims to explore different methods of colchicine treatment using two Ocimum basilicum cultivars: ‘Genovese’ and ‘Aromat de Buzau’ and to determine and compare the induced biological effects. We found that colchicine treatment did not significantly affect the photosynthetic efficiency of treated plants or most seed germination parameters, except for the seedling vigor index. However, it had a significant impact on some morpho-anatomical indices of the plants. Specifically, colchicine treatment resulted in the occurrence of heteromorphic cells and weak xylem lignification in the epicotyl’s structure. In addition, heteromorphic stomata and epidermal cells appeared on both leaf surfaces. Furthermore, we observed tector hair morphogenesis and elongation may be stimulated as possible consequences of chemical stress induced by colchicine treatment.
Keywords: basil, germination, stomata, heteromorphic cells, lignification