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Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology

 

Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 61(4)

Structural diversity of the wood of temperate species of Acacia s.s. (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae)

Frances Whinder A , Kerri L. Clarke B , Nigel W. M. Warwick B and Peter E. Gasson A C

A Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3DS, United Kingdom.
B School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.
C Corresponding author. Email: p.gasson@kew.org

Australian Journal of Botany 61(4) 291-301 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/BT13053
Submitted: 22 February 2013  Accepted: 19 April 2013   Published: 30 May 2013


 
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Abstract

Acacia s.s. comprises approximately 1020 species (i.e. just under one-third of all mimosoid legumes) and is almost entirely restricted to, although widespread, on the Australian continent. We investigated variation in the wood anatomy of 12 species from temperate New South Wales in a study concentrating on four recognised taxonomic sections (Botrycephalae, Juliflorae, Phyllodineae and Plurinerves), to elucidate which characteristics are consistent within the sections, having removed climatic effect as much as possible. The sections had great utility in species identification, whereas none of the wood characters reflected the hypothesised phylogeny of the genus. The main consistent difference among species was in ray width (uniseriate versus 1–3 cells wide). All species had distinct growth rings. The vessels had alternate vestured pitting and simple perforation plates. Fibres were generally thick-walled, and many fibres had a gelatinous inner wall (tension wood fibres) and were inconsistently distributed. Axial parenchyma was mainly paratracheal, ranging from vasicentric to confluent and varied greatly in abundance. Prismatic crystals were usually present in chambered fibres and axial parenchyma strands, and also varied in abundance. The variation in these qualitative characters obscures taxonomic differences, but may allow inferences to be made about environmental adaptation.

Additional keywords: Acacia spp., plant diversity, plant structure.


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