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The taxonomic significance of fruit morphology and anatomy in the genus Alepidea Delaroche (Apiaceae, subfamily Saniculoideae)

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The African endemic genus Alepidea Delaroche has been revised several times but relationships within the genus and circumscriptions of the species remain problematic. A detailed study of the morphology and anatomy of the fruits of Alepidea species was done to evaluate the taxonomic value of fruit characters at both generic and infrageneric levels. The sporadic occurrence of both regular vittae and cyclic vittae (paraendocarpic ducts) in Alepidea species is reported for the first time. The fruit structure is highly polymorphic and very variable within species and only a limited number of carpological traits appear to be of taxonomic value (presence or absence of vittae, surface sculpturing). At the generic level, the fruit structure in Alepidea can now be more accurately characterized. Alepidea differs from all other genera of the tribe Saniculeae (subfamily Saniculoideae) in the presence (albeit sporadic) of regular vittae (intervallecular as well as commissural vittae), at least in some of the species. The presence of vittae in Alepidea greatly reduces the apparent taxonomic distance between the subfamilies Saniculoideae (where regular vittae were hitherto thought to be absent) and the Apioideae (where regular vittae are diagnostic).
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Keywords: ALEPIDEA; FRUIT STRUCTURE; SANICULOIDEAE; SURFACE SCULPTURING; VITTAE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2010

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  • Plant Diversity and Evolution (PDE) publishes original contributions to plant sciences from the fields of phytotaxonomy, systematics, morphology, anatomy and geobotany, ecology, synecology and their relationships to biogeography, plant distribution and dispersal. Emphasis is on vascular plants. The editors also encourage the submission of papers on ontogeny and its genetic aspects.

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