Revealing a new species of Ophioglossum (Ophioglossaceae-Pteridophyta) from India with palynological and phylogenetic implications
In recent years, Indian Ophioglossum L. taxonomy and systematic are receiving increasing interest from pteridologists as India has very rich germplasm of the genus. We present hereunder a new species of the genus Ophioglossum (Ophioglossaceae) from the marshy areas of southern region of Gujarat state, India. Ophioglossum hitkishorei sp. nov. can be diagnosed from other congeners by a combination of its smaller size, globose to subglobose, non-stoloniferous rhizome, number of trophophylls up to six, the absence of persistent leaf bases at top of rhizome and by very unique structure of spores. Spores are typically characterized by possessing granules deposition as exine strings bound around spores on the distal face and granulate assemblage on the proximal face of triradiate spores observed under SEM and also clearly distinct under light microscopic observations. As far as known, beaded strings of exine ornamentation have never been observed in any species of Ophioglossum in the world flora. Molecular study, based on two chloroplast DNA sequences trnL-F and psbA-trnH, also strongly supports O. hitkishorei sp. nov. as a distinct new species.