J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 1991, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (11): -.

• Research Articles •    

The Systematic and Ecological Significance of Anatomical Characters of Leaves in the Tribe Thermopsideae (Fabaceae)

Yuan Yong-ming, Peng Ze-xiang, and Chen Jia-rui (Chen Chia-jui)   

Abstract: Anatomical characters of leaves of Chinese species of the tribe Thermopsideae, including 3 genera and 13 species, were compared. The results show that the differentiation of mesophyll cells, stomatal types, stomatal distribution and density, shape of epidermal cell, trichome shape and density, cuticular membrane and waxy ornamentation have important systematic and ecological significance among the genera of the tribe. With regard to leaf architecture, pollen morphology and external morphology studies, we suggest that Ammopiptanthus represents an isolated and primitive genus in the tribe and Piptanthus is closely related to Thermopsis. Although different vein-endings, stomatal types and trichomes indicate systematic differences, other characters, such as mesophyll type, stomatal distribution, trichome density etc. are the result of ecological adaptation among the genera. Results of the present study confirm our previous conclusion that two evolutionary trends exist in the tribe, the first towards xerophilization and the second towards cold-adaptation They are caused by the desertification of the central Asian area and the heave of intermountainous plateau. Ecological isolation may be a main evolutary motivation among the taxa in the tribe. We have obs'erved that stomatal density and size in the xeromorphic genus, Ammopipianthus, are not simply a result of the general trend in xerophytes to have high stomatal density correlating with the relatively small size. On the contrary, stomata in this genus are larger than those in the mesophytic genus, Piptanthus, and the density on the lower surface is much less than in the latter. However, stomatal density on the upper surface follows the trend in concordance with increasing aridity and altitute.

Key words: Leaf-anatomy, Leaf-surface, Systematics, Ecology, Thermopsideae

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