Morphological Characteristics of Different Ficus Species Found in Samaru-Zaria, Nigeria
The genus Ficus is an important genetic resource due to its high economic and nutritional values. It is also an important part of biodiversity in the rainforest ecosystem. The leaf shape is variable, even among the leaves on the same tree and such characters as acuminate tips and cordate bases are seldom constant. The research was aimed to determined the morphological characteristics of leaves from eight different Ficus species found in Zaria in wet and dry season. Macromorphological characters such as leaf type, leaf shape, leaf apex, leaf margin, leaf arrangement and leaf base were examined. Macromorphological characters show leaf arrangement to be alternate in all the species. The leaf apexes are acute, obtuse and Acuminate, with leaf base been cordate and obtuse, having a leaf margin of serrate, entire and scalloped, with the shapes of the leaf cordate, ovate and elliptic. Quantitative examination of the foliar characteristics in both wet and dry season showed a significant difference in the leaf number among all the species except for Ficus reliogosa, Ficus capensis and Ficus elastica having P values 0.938, 0.963 and 0.873 respectively. Leaf length also varies significantly among all species except for Ficus reliogosa, Ficus polita, F. platyphylla and F. natalensis while leaflet width also varies significantly among all the species except for Ficus platyphylla. Petiole length was also significant among the species except for Ficus elastica (P value 0.417) The findings from this research revealed that the macromorphological characteristics of Ficus species in Zaria during wet and dry season indicate a significant variation across species.
Keywords: Morphological, Foliar, Ficus species, Wet and dry season
The Faculty of Science, Federal University Dutse. Jigawa State, Nigeria.