Comparative foliar epidermal morphology of Isolona Engl. (Annonaceae)
A qualitative micromorphological assessment of the seven species of Isolona occurring in Nigeria and the Cameroons was undertaken with the aid of light microscope. The stomatal cells are particularly useful, providing stable characters which can be reliably employed in distinguishing the species. Hypostomatic leaves and paracytic stomatal type are generic constant. Possession of only paracytic stomata is characteristic of I. dewevrei whereas other species may have in addition another type such as 1+2 laterocytic stomatal type found only in I. zenkeri and presence of brachyparacytic stomata which shows relatedness of I. campanulata, I. congolana, I. hexaloba, I. pleurocarpus and I. thonneri. The epidermal surfaces appeared glabrous but an indication of hairs is shown by the presence of a glandular trichome base only in I. hexaloba. The epidermal cell characters such as epidermal cell shapes and anticlinal wall patterns seem to intergrade and they are not as definite as the stomatal cells. However, a combination of these features will be helpful in defining the species better and their leaf fragments can be differentiated based on the various characters studied for effective utilization in herbal medicinal research.
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