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Calcium oxalate crystals in Dioscorea (Dioscoreaceae)
Calcium oxalate crystals are common in higher plants. They occur in five major forms namely crystal sand, raphide, druse, styloid and prismatic. The shape and occurrence of the crystals are species-specific hence considered as an important taxonomic characteristic. The present study investigates various forms and shapes of crystals found in the tubers and rhizomes of different species of Dioscorea. Raphide crystals are abundant in yams, and different shapes as well as unusual aggregations of raphide crystals are observed and discussed in this study. Other forms of crystals such as druces, styloids and prisms are also observed and illustrated.