Kew Bulletin

, 72:26 | Cite as

Leaf epidermal features of Chinese Stephania Lour. (Menispermaceae) and their systematic significance

  • Yun Kang
  • Florian Jabbour
  • Shuijuan Cao
  • Yaqin Wang
  • Jixian Guo
  • Jianming Huang


A previously published molecular phylogeny of Chinese species of Stephania (Menispermaceae) showed that none of the sections sensu Luo, recognised based on flower, inflorescence, leaf, and tuber traits, was monophyletic. In order to assess the use of an additional vegetative character for supraspecific classification in Stephania, we conducted an analysis of leaf micromorphology. Leaf epidermal features of 34 out of the c. 40 Chinese species of Stephania were investigated using light and scanning electron microscopy. Leaf epidermal characters were found to be constant at species level, but variable among species. The distribution pattern of papillae on the epidermal cells of the adaxial and abaxial sides of the leaves revealed three groups in Stephania, fitting with the recognition of three subgenera. Combined with the latter character, the shape of anticlinal cell walls proved to be useful to discriminate between sections, at least in subgenus Stephania. In addition, our results show that S. chingtungensis (subg. Stephania) exhibits leaf micromorphological states characteristic of subgenus Tuberiphania. The systematic position of the recently described S. novenanthera and of the taxonomically challenging S. excentrica within subgenus Tuberiphania is suggested by leaf epidermal features.

Key Words

Anatomy leaf micromorphology light microscope papillae SEM 



The present study was financially supported by a grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31100238) and the project to enhance the research ability of young teachers at Fudan University (20520133180). We thank Daotao Xie, Weiyu Weng, Xuesong Tang, Xin Weng, Xiaotian Dou and Weiyu Yang for assistance with field work.


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Copyright information

© The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yun Kang
    • 1
  • Florian Jabbour
    • 2
  • Shuijuan Cao
    • 1
  • Yaqin Wang
    • 1
  • Jixian Guo
    • 1
  • Jianming Huang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacognosy, School of PharmacyFudan UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Institut de Systématique, Evolution, Biodiversité, ISYEB UMR 7205, CNRS-MNHN-UPMC-EPHE, Muséum National d’Histoire NaturelleParisFrance

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