Leaf Epidermal Characteristics of Some Alternanthera Species in Nigeria
AbstractThe leaf epidermis of some species of Alternanthera such as A. bettzickiana, A. sessilis, A. pungens and A. brasiliana have been characterized using light microscope and following standard procedures. To the authors’ knowledge, the epidermal features of A. bettzickiana and A. brasiliana are being documented and reported for the first time. The shapes of epidermal cells ranged from polygonal to hexagonal shapes in both leaf surfaces of all the species examined except in both leaf epidermis of A. brasiliana and lower leaf epidermis of A. bettzickiana whose cells were irregular in shape. On the other hand, the walls of the epidermis in the species examined were slightly straight in both epidermal surfaces except in the lower epidermis of A. bettzickiana and upper epidermis of A. brasiliana which were zig-zag and sinuous respectively. There were gross absence of trichomes in both leaf epidermis of A. bettzickiana and A. pungens whereas scanty and short trichomes were observed on both epidermis of A. sessilis and A. brasiliana. In terms of stomata, A. brasiliana and A. pungens had the largest sizes (µm) with 57.01 ± 6.87 x 39.21 ± 6.93 (length x width) and 48.13 ± 4.06 x 37.34 ± 3.07 (length x width) in their lower and upper epidermis respectively. On the whole, A. sessilis had the smallest size of stomata with length and width of 31.55 ± 3.15 and 21.90 ± 6.47 in the upper epidermis. It was concluded that the results obtained in the present study suggest close relationship among the species. However, these need to be complemented with results from other sources of taxonomic inferences in order to adjudge possible delimitation and regrouping of these species where necessary.Key words: Leaf epidermis, cells, stomata, micrometer, Alternanthera
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