We studied leaf cuticles of 48 species of Beilschmiedia, Endiandra, Potameia, Sinopora, and Syndiclis from eastern Asia and Madagascar using light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. This study shows that leaf cuticles of Lauraceae possess characters useful in taxonomy, including the ornamentation of periclinal walls, straightness and uniformity of thickness of anticlinal walls, stomatal ledges, and surface of the stomatal complex. The stomatal ledges and the surface of the stomatal complex are valuable in supraspecific grouping while ornamentation of periclinal walls, thickness and straightness of anticlinal walls, and presence/absence of round oil deposits are applicable to species identification. Leaf cuticular features together with veinlet anatomy and macromorphology (e.g. terminal buds) were tentatively applied to classify the Asiatic Beilschmiedia group. Five groups are recognized, namely the Beilschmiedia delicata group, the B. glauca group, the B. intermedia group, the Endiandra group, and the Syndiclis group, each of which shares a suit of cuticular characters. Syndiclis (at least the Chinese species) consists of closely related species with a common origin and has not been derived several times independently from Beilschmiedia. Venation type and cuticular characters support a close relationship between Sinopora and Syndiclis. Sinopora hongkongensis is close to Syndiclis pingbienensis.
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Vol. 37 • No. 4