Canadian Journal of Botany vol:75 issue:5 pages:815-826
Sixteen species of 14 genera of 7 different tribes of the Cinchonoideae (Rubiaceae) were investigated with a scanning electron microscope to examine orbicule presence and morphological diversity. Orbicules are lacking only in Gouldia terminalis (Hook. et Arn.) Hbd. and Simira rubescens (Benth.) Bremek. ex Steyerm. Four orbicule types could be distinguished mainly on the basis of shape and ornamentation characteristics. Spiny orbicules (type I) we found only in the Catesbaeeae (sensu Delprete). Augusta longifolia (Spreng.) Rehd. has microrugulate orbicules (type II). Smooth and spherical orbicules smaller than 0.5 mu m (type III) are most widespread in our sample of the Cinchonoideae. In Burttdavya nyasica Hoyle, they are irregular and folded (type IV). For each species a description is given of the orbicule and of the sexine morphology, to allow comparison. Species with spiny orbicules always have microspines on the pollen sexine. For the other orbicule types no such resemblance could be observed. Transmission electron microscope observations of four species are included to comment on ultrastructural differences between orbicule types. From this preliminary survey, we suggest that orbicule features in Cinchonoideae may be systematically useful on generic and tribal levels.