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Seed Morphology and Testa Topography in Cicer (Fabaceae: Faboideae)

Nels R. Lersten and Charles R. Gunn
Systematic Botany
Vol. 6, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1981), pp. 223-230
DOI: 10.2307/2418283
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2418283
Page Count: 8
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Seed Morphology and Testa Topography in Cicer (Fabaceae: Faboideae)
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Abstract

The 19th century transfer of Cicer (Fabaceae) from the Vicieae to the monotypic Cicereae was recently reiterated by Kupicha. We present evidence to support this transfer based on seed morphology and testa topography as shown by scanning electron microscopy. Examination of 11 of the 40 species (a 28% sample) reveals five characteristics not found in most Vicieae seeds: 1) triangular to pyriform seed shape because of prominent beak bearing the hilum, 2) usually elaborate lens, 3) testa surface usually composed of large plates often conspicuously elevated to conical or spinose protuberances, 4) almost circular hilum with more or less conspicuous hilar rim, 5) deltoid micropyle. Cicer microphyllum Benth. and C. montbretii Jaubert & Spach have an inconspicuous lens and a papillose surface, suggesting a link with Vicieae.

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