New and unusual forms of calcium oxalate raphide crystals in the plant kingdom

Raman, Vijayasankar
Horner, Harry
Khan, Ikhlas
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Calcium oxalate crystals in higher plants occur in five major forms namely raphides, styloids, prisms, druses and crystal sand. The form, shape and occurrence of calcium oxalate crystals in plants are species- and tissue-specific, hence the presence or absence of a particular type of crystal can be used as a taxonomic character. So far, four different types of needle-like raphide crystals have been reported in plants. The present work describes two new and unusual forms of raphide crystals from the tubers of Dioscorea polystachya—six-sided needles with pointed ends (Type V) and four-sided needles with beveled ends (Type VI). Both of these new types of needles are distinct from the other four types by each having a surrounding membrane that envelopes a bundle of 10–20 closely packed thin crystalline sheets. The previously known four types of needles have solid or homogenous crystalline material, surrounded by a membrane or lamellate sheath called a crystal chamber. Only the Type VI crystals have beveled ends and the needles of the other five types have pointed ends.


This is a manuscript of an article published as Raman, Vijayasankar, Harry T. Horner, and Ikhlas A. Khan. "New and unusual forms of calcium oxalate raphide crystals in the plant kingdom." Journal of plant research 127, no. 6 (2014): 721-730. doi: 10.1007/s10265-014-0654-y. Posted with permission.

Anatomy, Calcium oxalate crystals, Dioscorea polystachya, Light microscopy, Raphides, Scanning electron microscopy, Yams