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Bulb tunic anatomy and its taxonomic implication in Allium L. (Amaryllidaceae: Allioideae)

Khorasani, M., Saeidi Mehrvarz, Sh., Zarre, S.
Plant biosystems 2018 v.152 no.6 pp. 1311-1328
Allium, bulbs, calcium oxalate, crystals, sand, tracheids
Allium is taxonomically a difficult genus with blurred taxonomic borders at all taxonomic ranks. In this research, anatomy and morphology of bulb tunics in 42 species of the genus representing its 16 currently recognized sections and 6 subgenera (Allium, Cepa, Reticulatobulbosa, Amerallium, Polyprason and Melanocrommyum) were investigated. Our results indicated the following characters to be most informative at sectional and subgeneric levels: features of calcium oxalate crystals and subepidermal cell layer of the outermost bulb tunic, type of tracheids, and bulbils presence. Three main types of crystals, i.e. prismatic, sand and druses, were fairly common among the investigated species except for the members of A. sect. Acanthoprason (A. subg. Melanocrommyum) that often lack crystals. The subepidermal layers of outer tunics were mostly composed of hexagonal, rectangular, or elongated cells but A. paradoxum (A. subg. Amerallium, sect. Briseis) showed the pentagonal type and A. longisepalum (A. subg. Amerallium, sect. Molium) the elliptic type of subepidermal cells. The members of A. sub. Melanocrommyum showed various types of tunic cells and crystals.