Ergastic Substances (Calcium Oxalate Crystals) in the Leaf of Combretum Loefl. (Combretaceae) Species in Nigeria


Leaves of twenty-two (22) species of Combretum in Nigeria were examined for occurrence and distribution of different types and sizes of ergastic substances (calcium oxalate crystals). Fresh and herbarium specimens were used for the study. These specimens were wax embedded, sectioned, mounted and micro-photographed using Leica WILD MPS 52 microscope camera on Leitz Diaplan microscope. Results revealed two types of calcium oxalate crystals—crystal sand and druses. Based on the observed differences in the size of the crystals, three groups of calcium oxalate crystals are reported [large crystals: 180.0 - 360.0 μm (241 ± 44.57 μm), moderate crystals: 90.0 - 144.0 μm (117.0 ± 20.60 μm), and small crystals: 18.0 - 72.0 μm (50.21 ± 20.42 μm)]. Crystal sand was found only in Combretum sp. 1 but druses of varying sizes predominated amongst species of the genus. Crystals were distributed within the spongy mesophyll, palisade mesophyll, sub-epidermis adaxial, sub-epidermis abaxial and between the palisade and spongy mesophyll. The findings of this work provide information on the occurrence and distribution of the crystals in the leaf epidermis of these taxa in Nigeria. The formation, occurrence and distribution of the crystal type in the Combretum species constitute dependable taxonomic character especially when combined with other characters.

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Ekeke, C. and Agbagwa, I. (2014) Ergastic Substances (Calcium Oxalate Crystals) in the Leaf of Combretum Loefl. (Combretaceae) Species in Nigeria. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 5, 2389-2401. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2014.515252.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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