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Anatomy of the Dicotyledons

The ongoing monographic volume series Anatomy of the Dicotyledons is a reference work that is edited at Kew, and written by contributors from around the world.
Campomanesia pubescens (Myrtaceae) stem, showing a continuous band of internal phloem separating the pith from the secondary xylem, a feature found in several families of the order Myrtales.

The monographic volume series Anatomy of the Dicotyledons was initiated by C. R. Metcalfe, former Keeper of the Jodrell Laboratory. The first edition by Metcalfe & Chalk (1950) was published in two volumes. This is now being revised and updated in several volumes. The first two volumes of the second edition were edited by Metcalfe & Chalk (1979, 1983), volume 3 by Metcalfe alone (1987, Magnoliales, Illiciales & Laurales), volume 4 by Cutler & Gregory (1998, Saxifragales sensu Takhtajan).

The series provides detailed comparative descriptions of vegetative anatomy arranged in a systematic context using up-to-date classifications. Descriptions are supplemented by illustrations including line drawings, and since 1982, light and scanning electron micrographs. Relevant literature is reviewed. In some volumes a summary of diagnostic characters is included.

The current focus for volume 5 is the systematic vegetative anatomy of Myrtales. According to APG III this order contains Alzateaceae, Combretaceae, Crypteroniaceae, Lythraceae, Melastomataceae (including Memecylaceae), Myrtaceae (including Heteropyxidaceae & Psiloxylaceae), Onagraceae, Penaeaceae (including Oliniaceae & Rhynchocalycaceae) and Vochysiaceae. Work on two families not now considered to be members of Myrtales is well advanced, and will be included: Rhizophoraceae and Thymelaeaceae.

In the preparation of this volume, several papers have been published on various aspects of the anatomy of the order Myrtales, These are the only products in the period under review, and there has been slow progress on the volume itself.

Extensive systematic surveys of wood anatomy of Leguminosae and Malpighiales also fit into this programme.

Key publications 2006-2011

  • Jansen, S., Pletsers, A., Rabaey, D. & Lens, F. (2008). Vestured pits: a diagnostic character in the secondary xylem of Myrtales. Journal of Tropical Forest Science 20: 328-339.
  • Lucas, E.J., Harris, S.A., Mazine, F.F., Belsham, S.R., NicLughadha, E.M., Telford, A., Gasson, P.E. & Chase, M. (2007). Suprageneric phylogenetics of Myrteae, the generically richest tribe in Myrtaceae (Myrtales). Taxon 56(4): 1105-1128.
  • Rabaey, D., Lens, F., Huysmans, S., Smets, E.F. & Jansen, S. (2008). A comparative ultrastructural study of pit membranes with plasmodesmata associated thickenings in four angiosperm species. Protoplasma 233: 255-262.
  • Sano, Y., Ohta, T. & Jansen, S. (2008). The distribution and structure of pits between vessels and imperforate tracheary elements in angiosperm woods. IAWA Journal 29: 1-15.

Project partners and collaborators


Graça Sajo (Universidade Estadual do São Paulo)


Steven Jansen (Ulm University)


Teresa Terrazas (Instituto de Biologia, UNAM, Mexico City )


Pieter Baas (Nationaal Herbarium Nederland)

South Africa

Patricia Tilney (Rand Afrikaans University)


Dennis Stevenson (New York Botanical Garden)
Regis Miller (Forest Products Laboratory, University of Madison WI)

Project funders


Series is published by Oxford University Press

Project Department

Project Leader: