Palynotaxonomy of Brazilian species of Passifloraceae sensu stricto

ABSTRACT This study aims to expand knowledge of the pollen morphology of Passifloraceae and contribute to the taxonomic delimitation of the group by morphologically characterizing pollen grains of species that occur in the Brazilian state of Bahia. Thirty-six species occur in the state, one of the genus Mitostemma (M. glaziovii) and 35 of the genus Passiflora. Pollen samples were acetolysed, measured, and described using light and scanning electron microscopy. The results group the studied species into four pollen types based mainly on aperture type and number, opercular variation, and the presence/absence of ornamentation elements inside the lumina of the reticulum: Pollen type I - species belonging to the subgenera Astrophea and Deidamioides; pollen type II - subgenus Decaloba; pollen type III - subgenus Passiflora; and pollen type IV - M. glaziovii, with pollen characteristics that separate it from the other species analyzed. The results reinforce the recognition of three subgenera of Passiflora. Morphopalynologically the species have very similar pollen types except for those of the subgenus Deidamioides, which are quite diverse and thus included in another pollen type. The results reveal the importance of pollen grains for the taxonomic study of Passifloraceae.