The conserved nature and taxonomic utility of pollen morphology in Cantua (Polemoniaceae)

Anna K. Monfils, L. Alan Prather

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5 Scopus citations


Pollen exine morphology of nine of the ten species of Cantua (Polemoniaceae) is examined using light and scanning electron microscopy. A total of 28 specimens of C. bicolor, C. buxifolia, C. candelilla, C. cuzcoensis, C. flexuosa, C. pyrifolia, C. quercifolia, C. volcanica, and an as yet undescribed species (Cantua sp. nov.) are examined using either fresh or herbarium material. Pollen grains are found to be spheroidal, pantoporate, and quite large; mean diameter varies from 62 to 87 μm. Mean number of pores varies from 4.5 to 21.2 and mean pore size varies from 4.86 to 12.40 μm. Pollen grains of all species have insulate semitectate sexines. This feature distinguishes the pollen of Cantua species from the remainder of the Polemoniaceae. Insulae are evenly distributed over the surface of the pollen grain, with the exception of C. flexuosa and occasionally C. buxifolia, where insulae are more sparsely and haphazardly distributed. The majority of the species examined have irregularly shaped tectal insulae, with the exception of the large rounded insulae in C. quercifolia and the elongated narrow insulae in C. volcanica. Cantua quercifolia and C. volcanica have supratectal verrucae, a possible synapomorphy. In comparison to close relatives, the pollen grains of Cantua are evolutionarily conserved, and show little variation among species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-256
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2004


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