Leaf anatomy of Macaranga

Microscopic Images

Background and context

Macaranga is a large genus of c. 250 species in Africa and Asia, its sister genus Mallotus occurs in the same area, but has less species. Anatomical characters of Mallotus were extremely helpful to separate species and, more important, to characterize clades in the phylogeny of Mallotus. A first scan of the Macaranga characters by Fišer Pečnikar showed that Macaranga is even more diverse than Mallotus.


Fišer Pečnikar et al. 2012. Botanical Jounral of the Linnean Society 169: 645—676; Kulju et al. 2007. Amer. J. Bot. 94: 1726—1743.

Objectives and goals

Description of all leaf anatomical characters of Macaranga.


Anatomical slides (sampling dried leaves, rehydrating them, making sections, cuticle macerations and cleared leaf fragments, bleeching, colouring, mounting, labelling) will be made, studied and described. Photos (SEM, microscope) will be made. The resulting characters per species will plotted on the existing phylogenies to see if they are typical for clades in the cladogram.


To be published in a high impact journal. Thus report in form of journal manuscript.


Peter van Welzen



Period and duration

start preferably not during Biodiversity courses and after databasing of collections; duration 9 months. Please, discuss date of research well in advance.

Study and level

Biology, MSc