Pollen morphology and plant taxonomy of white oaks quercus subgenus lepidobalanus in eastern north america
American Journal of Botany 70(4): 481-494
ISSN/ISBN: 0002-9122 DOI: 10.2307/2443159
An evaluation of possible approaches to fossil oak pollen identification utilized scanning electron microscopy to examine exine-surface features of 171 collections, representing 16 Quercus subgenus Lepidobalanus species and varieties [Q. alba L., Q. durandii Buckl., Q. oglethorpensis Duncan, Q. stellata Wangenh., Q. stellata var. margaretta (Ashe) Sarg., Q. chapmanii Sarg., Q. lyrata Walt., Q. bicolor Willd., Q. macrocarpa Michx., Q. muehlenbergii Engelm., Q. prinoides Willd., Q. prinus L., Q. michauxii Nutt., Q. virginiana Mill., Q. virginiana Mill., Q. virginiana var. geminata (Small) Sarg. and Q. virginiana var. minima Sarg.]of eastern North America. Twenty qualitative pollen morphological characters were defined and tabulated for each of 217 pollen grains. The data were subjected to cluster analysis and cluster diagrams were compared with published white oak taxonomy. Pollen morphology and plant taxonomy compared well in series of the subgenus Lepidobalanus due primarily to consistency of character presence and absence within species and varieties. Pollen morphology of white oaks appears to reflect plant systematics above the species level. Use of routine SEM [scanning electron microscopy] analysis to identify series of white oaks among fossil pollen grains likely will yield valid results.