Cuticular characters are epidermal or stomatal characters and are often used in the taxonomy and classification of fossil or extant Lauraceae. However, there is no consensus on their usefulness, especially as to which characters take priority and at which taxonomic level. This study compared the cuticular characters of species within the Neotropical genera of the Ocotea Aubl. complex to the reported molecular phylogeny. Species of the following genera are included in this study: Aiouea Aubl., Aniba Aubl., Dicypellium Nees & Mart., Endlicheria Nees, Kubitzkia van der Werff, Licaria Aubl., Nectandra Rol. ex Rottb., Ocotea, Paraia Rohwer, H. G. Richt. & van der Werff, Pleurothyrium Nees, Rhodostemonodaphne Rohwer & Kubitzki, Umbellularia (Nees) Nutt., and Urbanodendron Mez. Species groups based on cuticular characters, especially characters of the stomata, agreed well with the various clades in the molecular phylogeny, but did not agree with species grouped according to the traditional generic concepts. Stomata characters showed little or no variation within the clades found in the molecular phylogeny. Because the number of character states is limited, cuticular features by themselves cannot be used to define genera or clades or will not allow the identification of specimens.
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