Plant Diversity ›› 2014, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (01): 1-6.

• Articles •     Next Articles

Leaf Architecture and Its Taxonomic Significance in Fagus (Fagaceae) within China*

 CAO  Xiao-Yan-1、2, CAO  Ming-1, DENG  Min-3   

  1. 1 Guangxi Institute of Botany, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guilin 541006, China;
    2 Guangxi Normal University, Guilin 541004, China; 3 Shanghai Chenshan Plant Sciences Research Center,
    Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201602, China
  • Online:2014-01-25 Published:2014-12-01


Leaf architecture is a key diagnostic feature used to identify both fossil and extant plants. This is especially true in the Fagaceae. In this paper, we report a comprehensive study of leaf architectures of five species of Fagus (Fagaceae) in China. Our results show that venation pattern is restricted to the semicraspedodromous and brochidodromous types, tertiary veins are sinuous opposite percurrent, alternate percurrent, and mixed percurrent, and that veinlets are absent or unbranched or branched once. Areoles are well developed and of irregular triangle, quadrangle and pentagonum in shape. They are regularly arranged and a tooth is formed by the principal and accessory veins, with the tooth accessory vein being looped. Leaf margins are sinuous or sinuous with teeth. Our results also indicated that the secondary vein and higher level vein features were stable characters, that differed among the five species. They could be used, therefore, as important diagnostic features for identifying these species. Based on the differences and similarities of leaf architectures, keys used to identify Fagus species in China were revised. Moreover, based on a comparison of our results with those of former leaf anatomy studies in the Fagaceae, a key based on leaf architecture of Fagaceae genera was also revised.

Key words:  Fagaceae, Fagus, Leaf architecture, Taxonomic significance

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