Sreehari S Nair, K.H. Amitha Bachan, P.J. Ebin
| Abstract views: 732 | PDF views: 503


NAIR, S. S., BACHAN, K. H. A.  &  EBIN, P. J.  2021. Diversity and phenetic study on syconium of Ficus L. (Moraceae) from Kerala, India revealing natural classification along  with an identification key. Reinwardtia  20(1): 27–36. — Ficus L. commonly called ‘figs’ is one of the most complex genera among the angiosperms with its specialised inflorescence called syconium that looks like a fruit. Syconium of 33 species of  Ficus reported from Kerala were observed here to develop a novel key, solely based on syconium morphology. Numerical taxonomic methodology  for syconium  morphological characters  were standardised, considering 22 characters with 104 character states and analysed using similarity clustering. The floral features of the genus are very much complex and all the existing keys for the species identification relays on both vegetative as well as floral features. Hence, the present key will be practical  in  use  when  syconium  is  the  only  available  part.  The  numerical  analysis  of  the  syconium  features  well clustered and separated the trees with cauliflorous inflorescence, hemi epiphytic -epiphytic life forms and independent trees similar to the natural classification of the figs as  “Atthi, Itthi and Aal”, indicating that phenetic analysis using the syconium  characters  alone  provided  a  grouping  similar  to  the  natural  grouping  based  on  the  habit.  Preliminary phylogenetic analysis of figs also provided a similar clustering. This gives an insight into the fact that the separation of figs into these natural groups is reflecting phylogenetic trait. Detailed studies including more morphological traits and molecular analysis could establish the phylogenetic relation of figs in relation to the evolutionary history of climate and vegetation.


Diversity, Ficus, Identification key, Natural classification, Phenetics, Syconium.

Full Text:



BERG, C. C. 2003. Flora Malesiana precursor for the treatment of Moraceae 1: the main subdivision of Ficus: the subgenera. Blumea 48(1): 166 –177.

BERG, C. C. & CORNER, E. J. H. 2005. Moraceae: Ficus. Flora Malesiana Series I (Seed Plants) 17. Pp. 1–730.

BOLOURIAN, S. & PAKRAVAN, M. 2011. A morphometric study of the annual species of Alyssum (Brassicaceae) in Iran based on their macro- and micromorphological characters. Phytologia Balcanica 17(3): 283–289.

BOWLES, J. M. 2004. Guide to plant collection and identification. UWO Herbarium workshop on plant collection and identification. 23 pp.

CHAUDHARY, L. B., SUDHAKAR, J. V., KUMAR, A., BAJPAI, O. & TIWARI, R. 2012. Synopsis of the genus Ficus L. (Moraceae) in India. Taiwania 57(2): 193–216.

CORNER, E. J. H. 1965. Check List of Ficus in Asia and Australasia with keys to identification. Gard. Bull. Sing. 21: 1–186.

FASILA, P. K., BACHAN, A. K. H., GIRIJA, T. P. & PRADEEP, A. K. 2020. Cryptocarya sheikelmudiyana (Lauraceae), a new species from the Western Ghats in Kerala, India. Taiwania 65(3): 265–271.

GAMBLE, J. S. 1925. Flora of the Presidency of Madras. Vol. 3. Adlard & Son. Ltd., London. Pp. 1351−1371.

HENDERSON, A. & FERREIRA, E. 2002. A morphometric study of Synechanthus (Palmae). Systematic Botany 27(4): 693–702.

KUMAR, A., BAJPAI, O., MISHRA, A. K., SAHU, N., BEHERA, S. K. & CHAUDHARY, L. B. 2011. Assessment of diversity in the genus Ficus L. (Moraceae) of Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh, India. American Journal of Plant Sciences 2(1): 78–92.

MATTHEW, K. M. 1995. An Excursion Flora of Central Tamil Nadu, India. CRC Press.

RAHMAN, M. O., RAHMAN, M. Z. & BEGUM, A. 2013. Numerical taxonomy of the genus Senna Mill. from Bangladesh. Bangladesh Journal of Plant Taxonomy 20(1): 77–83.

RHEEDE TOT DRAAKESTEIN, H. A. VAN. 1678. Hortus Indicus Malabaricus. Vol. 1. Amsterdam: J. van Someren & J. van Dyck. DOI: 10.5962/bhl.title.707 pp.

SASIDHARAN, N. & SIVARAJAN, V. V. 2004. Biodiversity Documentation of Kerala. Part 6. KFRI Hand Book.

SCOTLAND, R. W., OLMSTEAD, R. G. & BENNETT, J. R. 2003. Phylogeny reconstruction: the role of morphology. Syst. Biol. 52(4): 539–548. DOI: 10.1080/10635150390223613.

SIMPSON, M. G. 1953. Plant Systematics. Elsevier. Inc.

SNEATH, P. H. A. & SOKAL, R. R. 1973. Numerical Taxonomy. Freeman and Company, San Francisco, USA.

SONIBARE, M. A., JAYEOLA, A. A. & EGUNYOMI, A. 2004. A morphometric analysis of the genus Ficus Linn. (Moraceae). African Journal of Biotechnology 3(4): 229–235.

SREEHARI, S. N. & BACHAN, A. K. H. 2020. Phylogenetic study on the genus Ficus L. Moraceae) in Kerala using ITS sequences as molecular marker. Meridian 9(1): 34–37.

VANITHARANI, J., BHARATHI, B. K., MARGARET, I. V., MALLESHAPPA, H., OJHA R. K. & NAIK, K. G. A. 2009. Ficus diversity in Southern Western Ghats: a boon for biodiversity conservation. Journal of Theoretical Experimental Biology 6(1): 69–79.

WIENS, J. J. 2004. The role of morphological data in phylogeny reconstruction. Syst. Biol. 53(4): 653–661. DOI:10.1080/10635150490472959.

Copyright (c) 2021 Research Center for Biology, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI)
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


  • There are currently no refbacks.