Questions related to leaf development and its ontogenetic bases have been the subject of interest in studies in recent years. Rutaceae, family of the order Sapindales, presents alternate or opposite leaves which can be palmate or pinned with more than one leaflet, unifoliolated and / or with simple leaves. Among the family subtribes, Pilocarpinae is composed of the genera Esenbeckia, Metrodorea, Pilocarpus, Helietta and Balfourodendron. Studies indicate that for the Metrodorea genus, the presence of connate stipules acts as a spatial limitation for the development of leaflets resulting in a reduction and / or abortion of these structures. In the present study, we selected the species Esenbeckia febrifuga (A.St.-Hil.) A. Juss. ex Mart., Esenbeckia leiocarpa Engl. and Esenbeckia pilocarpoides Kunth, which have trifoliolate compound leaves, simple leaves and heterophilia (one to three leaflets), respectively. The objectives are 1) to analyze whether the spatial restriction, similar to that proposed in Metrodorea, occurs for E. pilocarpoides, even though Esenbeckia presenting alternate and not opposite phyllotaxis as the mentioned genus, 2) to elaborate explanations about the ontogenetic bases of leaf development in the chosen species and 3) structurally describe its different leaf types. The collected material will be subjected to classic techniques of plant anatomy, including scanning electron microscopy and optical microscopy. Original publications are expected, with relevant results that elucidate studies on leaf development in Sapindales.
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