NORDIC JOURNAL OF BOTANY, vol.37, no.5, 2019 (SCI-Expanded)
We examined the seed morphology of Nigella, Garidella and Komaroffia to aid systematics and taxonomy. The seeds of 21 taxa in 20 species from Mediterranean and West Asian countries were studied using both zoom stereo and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) and unweighted average linkage analysis (UPGMA) were performed to assess the contribution of seed characters to the taxonomy of the tribe. Representative pictures from zoom stereo microscopy and SEM studies and measurement of seeds are presented. Most studied species showed unique seed surface sculpturing features, and seed shape, size and surface sculpturing separated the studied taxa into five main groups. However, the variation in seed shape and color were found to be in conflict with the generic taxonomy while macromorphological characters were found more congruent with the sectional taxonomy than with the generic taxonomy. Five main types of seed ornamentations - rugulose + striate, granulate, smooth, rugulose and mucronulate - were identified. Patterns in seed micromorphology strongly supported the sectional level taxonomy of Nigella. Two of the three sections of the genus were found to be well differentiated in terms of seed characters. Furthermore, seed morphology alone provide good support to Garidella as a distinct genus, but shows less taxonomic value for Komaroffia.