This study employed scanning electron microscopy and light microscopy to observe seed surface micromorphology and seed coat anatomy in the Scrophulariaceae s.l. to investigate seed characters of taxonomic importance. Seeds of 41 taxa corresponding to 13 genera of the family were carefully investigated. Seeds were minute and less than or slightly larger than 1 millimeter in length except for Melampyrum and Pedicularis species. The seed shape ranged from elliptical to broad elliptical and ovoid. In the studied species the surface sculpture was predominantly reticulate-striate, regular reticulate, sometimes colliculate, and rugose, or - rarely - ribbed, as in Lindernia procumbens and Paulownia coreana. Seed coats comprised the epidermis and the endothelium. Nevertheless, in all Melampyrum and some Veronica species the seed coat was very poorly represented and only formed by a papery layer of epidermis. According to correspondence analysis (CA) and unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean (UPGMA) based cluster analysis the close affinities among the species of Scrophularia were well supported by their proximity to one another. Similarly, the proximity of Melampyrum species and Pedicularis species cannot be denied. In contrast, Veronica species were divided into two groups in CA plots and even three in the UPGMA tree. Regardless of the limited range taxa considered we found that similarities and differences in seed morphology between different genera could help us to understand the systematic relationships involved.
Part of the book: Seed Biology