Comparative Floral Micromorphology in Mimosa sect. Calothamnos (Fabaceae)
The genus Mimosa L. is well known for its high morphological variability and the presence of taxonomic complexes—groups of taxa that are not adequately circumscribed and are therefore in continuous revision. For this study, we analyzed flowers from 28 different taxa in Mimosa sect. Calothamnos Barneby and five vegetatively similar taxa from Mimosa sect. Mimosa. We observed three calyx shapes and four (glabrous or pubescent) calyx border types, as well as describe glandular trichomes on the calyx border for the first time in section Calothamnos. While the corolla exhibits only two shape types, trichomes on the corolla are much more diverse, as we found one simple and 11 branched trichome types in diverse orientations and dispositions. Given the taxonomic value of trichomes and profuse terminology in different families, we focused on the detailed description of their micromorphology, type, and shape, finding morphological differences between trichome types, which is an easy way to adequately compare them between even unrelated taxa. Our results using trichome types on the corolla are consistent with the original differentiation of sections Calothamnos and Mimosa. Flower micromorphology also provides characters to distinguish species, groups of species, and varieties within section Calothamnos and could be useful in a future taxonomic treatment of the section. We also found that some floral features, such as inflorescence color and stamen fusion, are associated with the characters used in this study.