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Abstract

The pollen morphology of many collections of taxa of the tribe Nigelleae from the family Ranunculaceae which occur worldwide is presented in this study. A total of 88 specimens from 21 taxa, some of which were recently proposed, belonging to the genera Komaroffia, Garidella, and Nigella of Nigelleae were examined using light microscopy (LM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). In the tribe, the pollen type is mostly trizonocolpate, but in many taxa and specimens, both trizonocolpate and non-trizonocolpate types occur together. The pollen grains are small to medium (25–53.75 μm × 20–55 μm) in size and oblate to prolate in shape. The exine pattern at the mesocolpium in all the taxa investigated is similar: micro-echinate in LM and micro-echinate-punctate in SEM. The colpus membrane in Komaroffia and Nigella is micro-echinate in both LM and SEM. In Garidella, it is micro-echinate in LM but echinate (spinulose) in SEM. In this study, multivariate analyses, principal component analysis (PCA), and unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean (UPGMA), were used to evaluate relationships between the genera and species within the tribe with respect to pollen morphology. PCA results show three main groups in the tribe: Garidella, Komaroffia, and Nigella. Moreover, the UPGMA tree also chiefly supports generic segregation into the smaller genera. An overall synthesis of the pollen characteristics of the three genera is provided and discussed.
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