Studies on the foliar epidermal tissues of three species of Digitaria Haller in Jos, Plateau state Nigeria
Foliar epidermal studies were carried out on Digitaria iburua Stapf, Digitaria exilis Stapf and Digitaria barbinodis Henr. with the aim of determining the patterns of variation in their epidermal characteristics and assessing the value of leaf epidermal characters in the identification of these culturally important species. Micro hairs, silica bodies, short cells, anticlinal wall pattern, epidermal cell shape and stomata index were diagonistic characters. While micro hairs were distributed on the surfaces of Digitaria exilis and Digitaria barbinodi, they were absent in Digitaria iburua. Short cells were present on the surfaces of Digitaria iburua and Digitaria barbinodis but absent on Digitaria exilis. Stomata index was smallest in Digitaria barbinodis distinguishing it from the other two species. The epidermal cell shape varied from rectangular to polygonal while the anticlinal wall pattern varied from straight to wavy in the three species. Other useful characters for distinguishing the species are epidermal cell size, stomata size and stomata number.
Keywords: Digitaria iburua, microhairs, foliar, silica bodies, Digitaria exilis