Foliar Epidermal Traits of Invasive and Non-Invasive Species of Dracaena Vand. ex L. (Dracaenaceae) in Obafemi Awolowo University Campus, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
A comparative foliar anatomical study of the invasive and non-invasive species of Dracaena in Obafemi Awolowo University Campus in Nigeria was carried out. A specific aim of the study was to determine the foliar and morphological traits in Dracaena mannii, which may be responsible for its invasive habit. The foliar anatomical traits were also used to describe the two studied Dracaena species. Fresh and matured leaves of D. mannii and D. arborea were collected and authenticated at the Herbarium of Obafemi Awolowo University (IFE). Quantitative and qualitative data were recorded for morphological traits, whereas scraping techniques were used to obtain the epidermal peels and photomicrographs of slides were taken for observing the anatomical traits. The presence of club-like glandular unicellular trichomes and papillose, high stomata index and frequency of epidermal cells per unit area strengthen the invasive habit of Dracaena mannii. The thin walls of the epidermal cells increase the intercellular flow of assimilates within D. mannii, which is also a notable invasive character.
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