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Comparative wood anatomy with ecological and evolutionary trends among different growth forms of genus Ficus

Article; Early Access

Yadav, R; Gupta, S; Verma, PK; Sharma, U

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2024

JOURNAL OF THE INDIAN ACADEMY OF WOOD SCIENCE

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Ficus is a largest genus of family Moraceae with amazing diversity in growth forms varying from shrub and lianas/climbers to free-growing and epiphytic trees. While it is easy to find habits variations among various families, within families, or even between genera, it is more interesting to find them within a genus. The objective of the study was to investigate the wood anatomical variations among the different habits of Ficus. Wood samples were collected from the ten Ficus species which includes shrub (F. squamosa), climbers/lianas (F. pumila and F. hederacea), small trees (F. carica, F. arnottiana, F. sarmentosa) and very large trees (F. virens, F. drupacea, F. pomifera, F. krishnae). All species of selected growth forms shared common wood anatomical features like diffuse porosity, solitary with radial multiple of 2-5 vessels, SVOs angular, simple perforation plate and heterocellular rays. However, significant variations were observed in fiber septation; ripple marks, tyloses, ray characteristics, type of parenchyma, prismatic crystals and shape of IVPs. Among all habits, vessel frequency decrease from climber (similar to 50/ mm) to shrubs followed by small tree with lowest in large trees ( similar to 10 vessels/ mm). Climber species have less fiber with more vessels per millimeter and presence of ripple marks. In evolutionary trends, shrub are more primitive than tree, climber/lianas and ecologically the lower value of mesomorphy and vulnerability index in shrub indicate devoid to xeric conditions and tree habit with highest values shown in large tree F. virens i.e., 61.14 and 21,703 respectively. The present study reveals that even wood anatomy is conservative science with consistent or constant qualitative wood anatomical features but the habits alter the anatomy itself within same genus.

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