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Isoetes sinensis is a rare and endangered plant in wetlands of southeastern China. Previous studies have reported the chromosome number, geographic distribution, and ecology of this Asian endemic, but there has not been an analysis of diagnostic characters associated with the sporophylls of I. sinensis in China. Therefore, morphological and anatomical variation of sporophylls in the three known Chinese populations of I. sinensis were evaluated and compared. The variation found is discussed in relation to the present taxonomy of I. sinensis.
In this paper the authors reconsider the validity of the fern Blechnum ludificans Herter. Herbarium material was studied using stereoscopic microscopy, LM and SEM. The main diagnostic characters of B. ludificans are: pinnate to pinnate- pinnatisect pinnae, 25 or fewer pinnae per blade, the presence of glandular hairs on the pinnae, inframedial position of the coenosori, and entire rhizome scale margins. Illustrations of the diagnostic features of B. ludificans are provided.
The laminar scales of the fern Elaphoglossum paleaceum were studied to determine if they act as a morphological mechanism to protect leaves from excess light. We hypothesized that if scales serve this purpose, then individual plants growing in high light would have greater laminar scale density than those in low light. For our first experiment, plants from high light roadsides were collected and subjected to artificial scale removal and then exposed to super-saturating pulse of light for 30 min. We found that leaves with their scales removed exhibited significantly greater photoinhibition than leaves with scales intact. Leaves with intact scales recovered fully after twelve hours whereas those with scales removed remained photoinhibited. Scale density on the adaxial side of leaves was positively correlated with light intensity. The data from this study indicate that fern laminar scales help reduce photoinhibition and potentially function as a morphological defense against photodamage.