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Simplifying complexity: using leaves rather than flowers to identify Xylopia species in Liberia

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Forestry, Faculty of Forestry, University of Liberia, P.O. Box 9020 Monrovia, Liberia and Projects Liaison, Forestry Development Authority, P.O. Box 3010, Monrovia, Liberia
  • 2Department of Forestry, Faculty of Forestry, University of Liberia, P.O. Box 9020 Monrovia, Liberia
  • 3Department of Forestry, Faculty of Forestry, University of Liberia, P.O. Box 9020 Monrovia, Liberia

Res. J. Agriculture & Forestry Sci., Volume 5, Issue (4), Pages 10-15, April,8 (2017)


Five species of Xylopia Linn. were appropriated and examined in the study. Botany and dendrology lecturers at the Department of Forestry, University of Liberia, generally experienced difficulties in delimiting Xylopia species because their floral characteristics are similar and arduous to delineate. Ten leaves of each species were borrowed from ArcelorMittal Iron Ore Mining Company (AML) mini-herbarium. Lamina physical characters were examined using one-foot graduated ruler, hand lens of 10X and 20X magnification, and canon camera (EOS 1100). Results showed that laminar size, auxiliary veins and third vein angle inconsistency proved most useful. The study was important in that it provided appreciable understanding of selected Xylopia species for teachers, students and most local users. Hence! The use of leaf architecture as identification tool for plants continues to gain further eminence.


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