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Taxonomic value of leaf anatomical characteristics of Ficus L. (Moraceae) in Peninsular Malaysia

A.R. SITI KHAULAH, T. NORAINI, A. LATIFF, Z. AHMAD FITRI, M. NURUL-SYAHIRAH, R. AMALIA, D. KHAIRUL BARIAH

Abstract


A comparative study of leaf anatomy was conducted on some Ficus taxa namely as F. binnendykii var. coriacea, F. beccarii, F. kerkhovenii, F. sinuata, F. crassiramea and F. parietalis. The objective of this study is to determine the taxonomic value of leaf anatomical characteristics in selected Ficus taxa. Methods employed include transverse section of leaf lamina and margin using sliding microtome. The presence of continuous sclerenchyma cells surrounding vascular bundles in the leaf lamina, cystolith cells and swollen tracheids in leaf venation are common characteristics shared by all taxa studied. Taxa studied can be distinguished by the shape of marginal outline, presence and types of trichomes, types of lamina venation, presence of secretory cells, solitary crystal, druses, hypodermis and the layers of palisade cells underneath the adaxial epidermis and also in the present of cuticle. Some characters, such as the presence of collenchyma cells underneath the adaxial epidermis and above the palisade cells of primary vascular bundles in the leaf lamina in F. sinuata, complex veinlets of leaf venation in F. kerkhovenii, cystolith trichomes in F. beccarii and presence of short-stalked capitate (bicellular terminal) trichomes in F. parietalis are unique to certain species and are therefore useful as diagnostic characters. This study showed that anatomical characteristics of leaf lamina have taxonomic significance that can be used in differentiation and identification in Ficus taxa studied.

Keywords


Moraceae, Ficus, leaf anatomy, leaf venation

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