Original Research

Ovule and seed structure in Scolopia zeyheri (Scolopieae), with notes on the embryology of Salicaceae

E. M. A. Steyn, A. E. van Wyk, G. F. Smith
Bothalia | Vol 35, No 2 | a398 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v35i2.398 | © 2005 E. M. A. Steyn, A. E. van Wyk, G. F. Smith | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 August 2005 | Published: 29 August 2005

About the author(s)

E. M. A. Steyn, South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa
A. E. van Wyk, H.G.W.J. Schweickerdt Herbarium. Department of Botany, South Africa
G. F. Smith, South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa

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Scolopia zeyheri (Nees) Harv. is a widespread African tree and a member of the largest genus of the tropical Old World tribe Scolopieae (Salicaceae sensu lato). This light microscopic study is the first report on ovule and seed structure in the genus and the tribe. Ovules vary from four to six per ovary, are anatropous. crassinucellate. bitegmic and occur in an epitropous (rarely pleurotropous). median-parietal position in the unilocular, usually bicarpellate ovary. A very extensive nucellus cap. comprising nucellus epidermal derivatives and parietal tissue, characterizes the young ovule during mega- sporogenesis and megagametogenesis, but the chalazal nucellus is poorly developed. During meiosis. the micropvlar dyad cell degenerates early. The functional dyad cell forms two megaspores of which the chalazal one usually develops into a Polygonum-type embryo sac. At maturity, the micropylar end of the embryo sac is covered by the remnants of the nucellus epidermis, the parietal tissue having degenerated. The globular embryo has a short suspensor and lies in nuclear endosperm becoming cellular. The seed coat develops from both integuments, is tannimferous. has a glabrous surface with stomata and a single layer of exotegmic, longitudinal fibres.

Results are compared with relevant information previously reported for genera in the tribes Flacourtieae. Samvdeae. Saliceae, Scyphostegiae and for Oncoha Forssk. (Salicaceae sensu lato). Embryologically Scolopia shows a number of ple- siomorphic features compared to other Salicaceae. For example, it lacks an extranucellar embryo sac. an apomorphic fea­ture in many Salicaceae. A summary of ovule and seed characters in Salicaceae sensu lato is given and contrasted with data available for Achariaceae  sensu lato. Embryological data broadly supports the reclassification of genera, traditionally referred to Flacourtiaceae. amongst Salicaceae sensu lato and Achariaceae sensu lato.


Achariaceae. embryology; Flacourtiaceae. Salicaceae. Scolopia zeyheri. Scolopieae. seed coat; taxonomy


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