Anatomy of scapes, bracts, and leaves of Paepalanthus sect. Diphyomene (Eriocaulaceae, Poales) and its taxonomic implications
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Paepalanthus sect. Diphyomene comprises 18 species with a convoluted taxonomic history. Aiming to correlate anatomical structures with the systematics of this group and its relatives, we studied the anatomy of scapes, reproductive axis bracts, and leaves of 20 Paepalanthus species. Bracts and leaves show differences in epidermal cell thickening; mesophyll width; vascular bundle arrangement; presence or absence of a hypodermis; types of cells in the vascular bundle sheath extensions; margin shape and composition; and presence or absence of aquiferous parenchyma. Scapes differ in contour, rib number, and pith size. Some diagnostic characters found are presence of aquiferous parenchyma and absence of vascular bundle sheath extensions in leaves of P. urbanianus; vascular bundles decreasing in size towards the margin of leaves and bracts, and scapes with a triangular contour in P. flaccidus; scapes with nine ribs in P. acanthophyllus and ten in P. macer. All anatomical features are summarized in tables. These results aid in the identification and characterization of the species of P. sect. Diphyomene. They also support the current section circumscription, reinforcing the relevance of the anatomical characters in order to define natural groups. © 2012 The New York Botanical Garden.