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The circumscription and concept of Hordeum (Poaceae) based on some leaf epidermal characteristics

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The leaf epidermises of 15 taxa of Hordeum, Psathyrostachys, and Hordelymus were examined under the light microscope. It was found that these taxa are not identical in the lower epidermal characteristics. Their greatest difference is shown in the intercostal zones of the lower epidermis between the group constituted by the cultivated barley and its close wild relatives and the group constituted by the wild species of Hordeum and the taxa of Psathyrostachys and Hordelymus. The former has conspicuously elongated long-cells, large and usually 2-banded stomata, and has nearly no short-cells and prickle-hairs; whereas the latter has none or slightly elongated long-cells, relatively small and 2- to many-banded stomata, and the presence of short-cells and prickle-hairs. Moreover, the wild species of Hordeum, which belong to the latter group, differ from the taxa of Psathyrostachys and Hordelymus by the number of rows of long-cells in the intercostal zones and the quantity of short-cells. It was demonstrated that the wild species of Hordeum must be independent as Critesion, and the circumscription of Hordeum only includes the cultivated barley and its close wild relatives. This study therefore redefined the circumscription and concept of Hordeum.

Affiliations: 1: Northwest Plateau Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences ; 2: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Saskatoon Research Centre


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