Plant Diversity ›› 2013, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (3): 295-302.DOI: 10.7677/ynzwyj201313073

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Intraspecific Variation in Samara Morphology of Acer and Its Implication in Fossil Identification

 HUANG  Yong-Jiang-1, ZHU  Hai-1、3, CHEN  Wen-Yun-1, ZHOU  Zhe-Kun-1、2   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory of Biodiversity and Biogeography, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201, China;
    2 Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences,
    Mengla 666303, China; 3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2013-03-31 Online:2013-05-25 Published:2013-04-22
  • Supported by:

    科技部科技基础性工作专项重点项目 (2007FY110100);国家自然科学基金 (41030112);中国科学院南京地质古生物研究所现代古生物学和地层学国家重点实验室开放课题 (123107)


Samara morphology of 8 species of Acer (Aceraceae), which occur in southwestern China, was observed from the herbarium specimens. Morphological comparisons and examinations based on PCO analysis display considerable intraspecific variations in samara morphology, mainly in general shape and fruit size. Samaras belonging to the same species but collected from different places have morphological disparities, which might be associated with different climatic and environmental conditions. This represents the first detailed investigation of the intraspecific variation in Acer samara morphology, and throws light on the identification of fossil samaras of Acer at the specific level. Interaspecific variation in samara morphology should be taken into consider in taxonomical studies of samara fossils of Acer. Fossils with morphological diversity might belong to only one or fewer fossil taxa.

Key words: Aceraceae, Acer, Samara, Fossil, Intraspecific morphological variation

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