Comparative anatomy of tendril and fruit stalk in Curcubitaceae Juss. from Nigeria
Comparative anatomy of the fruit stalk and tendril of nine (9) species representing 8 genera of Cucurbits from Nigeria has been carried out to complement the existing taxonomic data on the family. Fresh plant materials from representative members of the genera Zehneria, Luffa, Momordica, Coccinnia, Telfairia, Cucurbita, Lagenaria and Cucumis collected from the wild during field trips to various parts of Nigeria were used for this study. The specimens were wax embedded, sectioned, stained and photographed with Leitz Diaplan photomicroscope fitted with Leica WILD MPS 52 camera. The findings of this study showed that there are similarities and variations in the shape, number and size of vascular bundles, nature of epidermis, layers and nature of sclerenchymatuous, chllenchymatuous and chlorenchymatuous cells in the fruit stalk and tendril could be used to delimit the species of Cucurbitaceae in Nigeria. The variation in number and layers of these tissues among the species studied include vascular bundles (4 – 22 in fruit stalk, 4 – 10 in tendril), sclerenchymatuous cells (1 -8 layers in both tendril and fruit stalk), chlorenchymatuous cells (1 – 8 layers in both tendril and fruit stalk) and collenchymatuous cells (1 – 6 layers in friut stalks, 2 – 6 layers in tendrils). Druses and prismatic crystals were observed among the species and the taxonomic implications of these features are discussed and represent the first report on the anatomy of fruit stalk of these cucurbits from Nigeria.
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Keywords: Anatomy, Cucurbitaceae, fruit stalk, Parenchyma, Sclerenchyma, tendril
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