Do tracheid microstructure and the presence of minute crystals link Nymphaeaceae, Cabombaceae and Hydatellaceae?

Sherwin Carlquist, Edward L. Schneider

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13 Scopus citations


Original scanning electron microscopy (SEM) observations are presented for stems of Brasenia schreberi and Cabomba caroliniana of Cabombaceae and three species of Trithuria of Hydatellaceae. End walls of stem tracheids of Brasenia have the same peculiar microstructure that we have reported in Barclaya, Euryale, Nuphar, Nymphaea (including Ondinea) and Victoria of Nymphaeaceae. This feature unites Cabombaceae with Nymphaeaceae. The minute rhomboidal crystals on the surfaces of stellate parenchyma cells of Brasenia reported by Solereder (1906. Oxford: University Press), but not noticed since, are figured. They are like the minute crystals of the often-mentioned astrosclereids of Nymphaeaceae. Neither of these two features has been observed in Hydatellaceae. If the absence of these two features can be confirmed, the reason may be more related to ecology, development, habit and anatomical organization than to degree of phylogenetic relationship as shown by molecular studies. Anatomical observations on the stem anatomy of Trithuria are offered on the basis of paraffin sections prepared for a paper by Cheadle & Kosakai (1975. American Journal of Botany 62: 1017-1026); that study is notable for a discrepancy between an illustration of a specialized vessel element on the one hand and tabular data indicating long scalariform perforation plates on the other. Long scalariform perforation plates are mostly found in scalariformly pitted vessels of monocots, whereas the tracheary elements of Trithuria mostly have helical or annular thickenings. We were unable to demonstrate the presence of vessels in Hydatellaceae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)572-582
Number of pages11
JournalBotanical Journal of the Linnean Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • Basal angiosperms
  • Brasenia
  • Nymphaeales
  • Pit
  • Trithuria
  • Xylem


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