The objective of this study was to describe a wide spectrum of surface structural and anatomical details of the Chinese brake fern (Pteris vittata) using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). SEM revealed that the epidermal cells of the pinnae were elongated with raised periclinal and sinuous anticlinal walls. The pinnae were hypostomatous with randomly scattered anomocytic stomatal complexes positioned at the same level as the epidermis. Stomates were large and elliptical (27.4 μm × 10.2 μm). Cross sections from the central regions of the rachis and the stipe revealed V- and U-shaped vascular bundles, respectively. In each vascular bundle, the xylem strands were sea-horse shaped (hippocampus). In contrast, the pinnae possessed a triangular vascular bundle with uniform mesophyll organization comprising of homogenous lobed parenchyma cells. The indumentum consisted of trichomes and scales, which formed various types of vestiture. Trichomes were borne only on the pinnae and scales on the rachis and stipe. The roots developed a dense network of long root hairs averaging 244 μm long, and the xylem consisted of tracheids with scalariform pitting. Sori were submarginal; continuous along both margins of the pinna and were covered with a false indusium. The sporangia were oblong with a short thick stalk and the annulus was positioned vertically resulting in transverse dehiscence of the sporangium. The paraphyses were uniseriate, unbranched, septate and found to be intermixed with the sporangia. The exine of the globose spores was adorned with thick reticulum in which the areoles contained round tubercles. This study describes surface features in detail, which is essential to studies examining the issue of whether morphological characteristics are related to arsenic hyperaccumulation in P. vittata.
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Vol. 58 • No. 3