Plant Systematics and Evolution vol:275 pages:93-108
The pollen morphology of subtribe Menthinae sensu Harley et al. [In: The families and genera of vascular plants VII. Flowering plants.dicotyledons: Lamiales (except Acanthaceae including Avicenniaceae). Springer, Berlin, pp 167-275, 2004] and two genera of uncertain subtribal affinities (Heterolamium and Melissa) are documented in order to complete our palynological overview of the tribe Mentheae. Menthinae pollen is small to medium in size (13-43 mu m), oblate to prolate in shape and mostly hexacolpate (sometimes pentacolpate). Perforate, microreticulate or bireticulate exine ornamentation types were observed. The exine ornamentation of Menthinae is systematically highly informative particularly at generic level. The exine stratification in all taxa studied is characterized by unbranched columellae. Orbicules are consistently absent in Menthinae. Our palynological data are interpreted in a phylogenetic context at tribal level in order to assess the systematic value of pollen characters and to evaluate the existing molecular phylogenies for this group. Pollen morphology suggests Heterolamium as a close relative of subtribe Nepetinae and supports the molecular affinity of Melissa to subtribe Salviinae.