The micro-morphology of nutlets in 30 taxa (28 species and 2 varieties) of Microula Benth. (Boraginaceae) was surveyed by light and scanning electron microscopy. A principal coordinate-based ordination analysis (PCO) (8 morphological and 14 micro-morphological characters) was applied to explore whether taxa clustered according to the current sectional taxonomy. The nutlet epidermis showed three major features: trichomes, papillae and lamellae. Two basic trichome types could be identified: branched and unbranched. Stellate trichomes (STT) and stipitate stellate trichomes (SST) can be considered as two subtypes of branched trichomes based on shape and branching location. Three kinds of unbranched trichomes were recognized by their shapes: slender trichomes (SLT), spear-like trichomes (SPT) and conical trichomes (CT). Four types of papillae were revealed in this genus: central apiculate papillae (CAP), debris-covered convex papillae (DCP), rugous papillae (RP) and tabular papillae (TP). The lamellae was classified in five types: glossy lamellae (GL), thread-like lamellae (TL), rugous lamellae (RL), interrupted lamellae (IL) and debris-covered lamellae (DCL). The variation in the nature of surface sculpturing, nutlet shape and size, dorsal aperture shape, and attachment scar positions proved useful diagnostic characters. Taxa belonging to the same section generally clustered together in the PCO analysis. A key based on the morphology and micro-morphology of nutlets is provided to distinguish the sections of Microula. The presence of SLT, STT, DCP and DCL is consistent with the macro-morphological classification and provides additional evidence for the subgeneric delimitations. The SST, SLT, CAP, DCP, RP, DCL, GL and RL are useful in discriminating species in Microula. Additionally, the distribution of some trichomes, papillae and lamellae types is correlated with the altitudinal distribution of the species.
1.Chinese Acad Sci, Key Lab Biodivers & Biogeog, Kunming Inst Bot, CN-650204 Kunming, Yunnan, Peoples R China 2.Chinese Acad Sci, Grad Sch, CN-100039 Beijing, Peoples R China 3.Chinese Acad Sci, Xishuangbanna Trop Bot Garden, CN-666303 Mengla, Peoples R China 4.Chinese Acad Sci, Dept Palaeobot & Palynol, Nanjing Inst Geol & Paleontol, CN-210008 Nanjing, Jiangsu, Peoples R China
Yu, Wen-Tao,Jacques, Frederic M. B.,Chen, Shao-Tian,et al. Nutlet micro-morphology of the genus Microula (Boraginaceae) from the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, and its systematic implications[J]. NORDIC JOURNAL OF BOTANY,2012,30(5):596-612.