Comparative Foliar Epidermal Studies of Twelve species in the Family Cyperaceae
The study investigated the leaf foliar epidermal characters of twelve species in the family Cyperaceae. This was with a view to finding additional characters of diagnostic or taxonomic importance. The epidermal peels were obtained by standard methods. The twelve species studied were Cyperus dilatatus Schum. & Thonn.; Cyperus difformis Linn.; Cyperus haspan Linn.; Cyperus distans Linn. (F.) Retz.; Cyperus imbricatus Linn.; Cyperus compressus Linn.; Kyllinga erecta Schumacher.; Kyllinga pumila Michx.; Kyllinga nemoralis (Forst.) Dandy ex Hutch.; Mariscus alternifolius Vahl.; Mariscus flabelliformis Kunth.; Rhynchospora corymbosa (Linn.) Britton.
Foliar epidermal peels were obtained by standard methods. Characters that were taxonomically important in delimiting the twelve species include presence or absence of prickle hair, trichomes, idioblasts, prismatic crystals and contiguous stomata on both abaxial and adaxial surfaces and Rhynchospora corymbosa was distinctly separated from the other species studied because it was the only hypostomatic species, while the others were amphistomatic, it was the only species with 1-5 rows of stomata per band and it had the highest stomata number. The distinct foliar epidermal separation of R. corymbosa validated its placement in the tribe Schoeneae with the other species studied in the tribe Cypereae.
C. distans was unique in having non–glandular, tripod-shaped, T–shaped, tricellular and three-arm shaped trichomes on the abaxial epidermal surface. The presence of prismatic crystals was also unique on the adaxial surface of C. distans and C. imbricatus. Big sized circular papillae on the intercoastal zone of C. haspan delimited it from all the other species studied. Out of the three Kyllinga species studied, idioblast was found on both abaxial and adaxial surfaces of K. erecta and K. pumila but absent in K. nemoralis.
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