Comparative morphological and foliar anatomical studies were carried out on three species of Asplenium: Asplenium nidus L., Asplenium scolopendrium (L.) Newn and Asplenium barterii Hook with a view to identifying important morphological and anatomical characters that can be employed in the separation of the species. Mature healthy plants of each species were collected from Erin Ijesa Waterfall and nursed in the FernGarden of Natural History Museum at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. Morphological observations and measurements were documented for each species. The transverse sections of the petiole and stem foliar sections were prepared by cutting at 10 μm thickness using Reichert Sliding Microtome and microphotographs were taken. Quantitative data obtained from this study were subjected to one-way Analysis of Variance with Duncan Multiple Range Test for mean separation. Findings revealed that the predominantly irregular epidermal cells on the adaxial surface of A. barterii is diagnostic of the species. The presence of tetracytic stomata in addition to anisocytic type also separates A. nidus from the other taxa. Similarly, A. scolopendrium had a significantly higher guard cell area compared to the other taxa. Morphological and foliar anatomical features in the genus can be used to delimit the three species while the possession of two vascular bundles broadly admit the species into the genus Asplenium. Keywords: Asplenium, Taxonomic, Foliar anatomy, Morphology.
O. Oladipo, T. Philip, R. A. Bamigboye
Ife Journal of Science