Diospyros villosa is a perennial species prominently acknowledged for its local medicinal applications. The native utilisation of this species in traditional medicine may be ascribed to the presence of secretory structures and their exudate (comprised of phytochemicals). However, the morphological nature and optical features of the secretory structures in D. villosa remain largely unclear. This study was directed to ascertain the occurrence and adaptive features of structures found within the leaves and stem bark of D. villosa using light and electron microscopy techniques. The current study notes the existence of trichomes, and other secretory structures were noted. SEM indicated the presence of non-glandular hirsute trichomes with bulky stalk on both leaves and stem surfaces. Transverse stem sections revealed the existence of crystal idioblasts. Moreover, the presence of the main phytochemical groups and their localisation within the foliage and stem bark was elucidated through various histochemical tests. The trichomal length and density were also assessed in leaves at different stages of development. The results indicated that the trichomal density at different stages of development of the D. villosa leaves and stem bark was not significantly different from one another, F(3,39) = 1.183, p = 0.3297. The average length of the non-glandular trichomes in the emergent, young and mature leaves, as well as in the stem, was recorded to be 230 ± 30.6 µm, 246 ± 40.32 μm, 193 ± 27.55 µm and 164 ± 18.62 µm, respectively. The perimeter and circumference of the observed trichomes in the developmental stages of D. villosa leaf and the stem bark were not statistically different, F(3,39) = 1.092, p = 0.3615. The results of histochemical tests showed the existence of phenols alkaloids, which are medicinally important and beneficial for treatment of diseases. The findings of this study, being reported for the first time may be considered in establishing microscopic and pharmacognostic measure for future identification and verification of natural herbal plant. Trichomal micromorphology and histological evaluations could be utilised as a tool for appropriate description for the assessment of this species.



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School of Biological and Marine Sciences