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The taxonomic significance of anatomical characters of the leaf in the southern african species of canthium sensu lato rubiaceae






South African Journal of Botany 56(3): 363-382

The taxonomic significance of anatomical characters of the leaf in the southern african species of canthium sensu lato rubiaceae

Fourteen species of Canthium s.l. recorded in southern Africa were studied. The anatomy of the leaf is described and the taxonomic and diagnostic value of the characters discussed. As with the stem, several anatomical features of the leaf are useful in distinguishing between taxa. These include the structure of the hairs, the thickness of the lamina, the shape of the midrib area, the thickness of the cuticle, the shape of the epidermal cells, the distribution of stomata, the extent and pattern of cutinization of the epidermal cells, the composition of the mesophyll including the abundance and distribution pattern of tanniniferous cells and the shape of the collenchyma in the midrib area. With regard to relationships between species not necessarily confined to southern Africa, indications are that leaf anatomical features may be of value. It also appears that leaf anatomy may be useful for diagnostic purposes irrespective of the stage of development of the leaf. On the basis of leaf anatomy three distinct groups were recognized, corresponding with the recently proposed segregate genera Canthium Lam. s.str. (in a southern African context), Psydrax Gaertn. and Keetia Phill. Nearly all species are anatomically homogeneous and all species could be distinguished from one another.

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Accession: 007939546



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