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Abstract

SEEDLING MORPHOLOGY –AN AID TO IDENTIFICATION OF SOME OVER-EXPLOITED MEDICINAL PLANTS WITH RESPECT TO THEIR PHARMACOGNISTIC USES

Sanghamitra Sanyal*

ABSTRACT

Seedling morphology of six over-exploited medicinal plants is described with special reference to their identification which has been discussed in the context of taxonomy. Some juvenile characters of seedlings are found useful in distinguishing taxa studied. A seedling plant is characterized by primary genetic characters before the attainment of secondary growth. Such characters include the behavior, number, form, size and shape and phyllotaxy of the earliest leaves (eophylls). These characters are used as taxonomic markers in the systematic consideration of angiosperms. Using these characters artificial keys for the identification of taxa at the juvenile stage has been developed. Based on initial germination pattern and nature of release of (para) cotyledons from the seed coat, four functional types were recognized: phanerocotylar epigeal, phanerocotylar geal, cryptocotylar hypogeal and cryptocotylar geal. Seedling morphology provide additional potential data source for characterization and identification of the medicinal plants which is very important to conserve these plants permanently to avoid wrong identification and to prevent them from getting extinct due to over-exploitation. Interest and support for the conservation and development of medicinal plants is increasing in all parts of the world. Keeping in view, the need for conservation of plant biodiversity, the study of seedling morphology provides important clues to identify the plants of medicinal plants in the wild much before flowering and fruiting stages, and in doing so, these plants can be protected from biotic interference and natural hazards, before they get disappeared from the wild.

Keywords: Seedling morphology, phanerocotylar, cryptocotylar, medicinal plant.


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