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Wood anatomy of Malpighiales

Malpighiales is a recently recognised order that is very diverse in terms of habit and woodiness.This project aims to document the diversity of wood anatomy in a phylogenetic context.

Transverse section of wood of Byrsonima densa (Malpighiaceae)

A broad survey has been carried out of the wood anatomy of all families with secondary xylem. The order includes the important timber families Chrysobalanaceae, Clusiaceae, Euphorbiaceae, 'Flacourtiaceae' and Salicaceae. Some families include lianas with anomalous secondary growth, e.g. Malpighiaceae and Passifloraceae. The most promising characters for identification and phylogenetic studies have been identified, and a lecture was given in the Malpighiaceae session at the International Botanical Congress (IBC) Vienna 2005. This paper was also given at the 6th Pacific Regional Wood Anatomy Conference in Kyoto, Japan, in December 2005, and subsequently a paper will be submitted to IAWA Journal.

Having assessed the most promising wood characters in the families constituting Malpighiales (vessel distribution, vessel perforation plate type (simple, scalariform or both types), vestured pits, vessel-ray pitting, occurrence of fibre-tracheids and septate fibres, axial parenchyma patterns, ray structure and type of cell inclusions (silica bodies, calcium oxalate crystals)) and plotted them onto recent molecular cladograms at the order and family levels, the next stage will be detailed data collection for genera and species. The large amount of published information on certain families (Euphorbiaceae,'Flacourtiaceae') will be used as well as original observations. This is a long-term undertaking that will take several years to complete.

Project partners and collaborators

Ulm University, Germany

Steven Jansen