American journal of botany vol:92 issue:6 pages:941-953
Wood samples of 49 specimens representing 31 species and 11 genera of woody balsaminoids, i.e., Balsaminaceae, Marcgraviaceae, Pellicieraceae, and Tetrameristaceae, were investigated using light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The wood structure of Marcgraviaceae, Pellicieraceae, and Tetrameristaceae is characterized by radial vessel multiples with simple perforation plates, alternate vessel pitting, apotracheal and paratracheal parenchyma, septate libriforin fibers, and the presence of raphides in ray cells. Tetrameristaccae and Pellicieraceae are found to be closely related based on the occurrence of unilaterally compound vessel-ray pitting and multiseriate rays with long uniseriate ends. The narrow rays in Pelliciera are characteristic of this genus, but a broader concept of Tetrameristaceae including Pelliciera is favored. Within Marcgraviaceae, wide rays (more than five-seriate) are typical of the genus Marcgravia. Furthermore, there is evidence that the impact of altitude and habit plays an important role in the wood structure of this family. The wood structure of Balsaminaceae cannot be compared systematically with other balsaminoids because of their secondary woodiness. Balsaminaceae wood strongly differs due to the presence of exclusively upright ray cells in Impatiens niamniamensis, the absence of rays in Impatiens arguta, and the occurrence of several additional paedomorphic features in both species.