Volume 1 No. 2, 2011
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Insight Botany>>  Volume 1 Issue 2, 2011
Diagnostic Significance of Leaf Epidermal Features in the Family Cucurbitaceae
A.A. Abdulrahaman, R.A. Oyedotun and F.A. Oladele
Abstract: Background: Herbal medicine is a popular means of medical management in some parts of the world especially in Africa. Practitioners and students use fresh and dried specimens of herbs for their work and research. The source of dry samples is usually in the local markets where, adulteration of herbal materials takes place. When herbs are dried and folded, identification and authentication become rather difficult. An approach to overcome the problem of identification is the use of anatomical features of the plant materials, especially the plant epidermis. The family Cucurbitaceae has many herbaceous species with medicinal properties, hence its choice for this study. Results: The species in which stomata were found to be present on the adaxial epidermis include Luffa cylindrica, Cucumis melo, Lagenaria breviflorus, Lagenaria siceraria, Citrullus colocynthis, Citrullus lanatus, Luffa acutangula and Momordica foetida. The species in which stomata were absent on the adaxial epidermis include Telfairia occidentalis, Momordica charantia, Trichosanthes cucumerina, Coccinia barteri, Coccinia grandis and Cucumis sativus. Cucumis melo stands out as a species with high stomatal density of 800 mm-2 and above on both leaf surfaces possibly due to the small size of the stomata while Cucumis sativus has a low stomatal density of 45 mm-2 and stomata occurring on the abaxial leaf surface only. Momordica foetida has stomata on both leaf surfaces while Momordica charantia has stomata on abaxial surface only. Lagenaria breviflorus is characterized by paracytic and diacytic stomata and Lagenaria siceraria by paracytic and staurocytic stomata. Telfairia occidentalis is characterized by paracytic stomata and Trichosanthes cucumerina by diacytic stomata. Conclusion: An indented dichotomous key was constructed to highlight the diagnostic significance of the epidermal features in the family.
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A.A. Abdulrahaman, R.A. Oyedotun and F.A. Oladele , 2011. Diagnostic Significance of Leaf Epidermal Features in the Family Cucurbitaceae . Insight Botany, 1: 22-27
DOI: 10.5567/BOTANY-IK.2011.22.27
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