|Online ISSN : 2349-8080
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Leaf epidermal microscopy of five varieties of Bambara groundnut was studied to investigate the structure of stomata and epidermal features which may be used for delimitation of the species. Fresh matured leaves of five (5) different varieties of Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea) namely red, white, black, strippe with brown eye and strippe with black eye were obtained from the new Botanical Garden of Biological Sciences Department adjacent Faculty of Science Complex within Gombe State University, Gombe, Nigeria. The specimens were studied under light microscope to examine the stomatal features, epidermal cell shapes and anticlinal cell wall patterns. The results revealed the presence of hypo-amphistomatic leaves; two types of stomatal complex type namely, paracytic and anomocytic. The frequency was 100% for red, white, black and stripped brown; while stripped black had 50%. The highest stomatal density (83.33±39.17) on the abaxial of stripped brown and lowest number (34.00±9.54) on the adaxial of black varieties was observed. The stomatal size had highest number of 54.18±22.17 on the adaxial of black and lowest number of 24.10±6.31 on the abaxial surface of stripped black. The stomatal index had highest number on the abaxial surface of stripped black (9.47±35.13) and lowest number on the abaxial surfaces of stripped brown (1.00±24.11). Straight and curved anticlinal cell wall patterns with pentagonal and polygonal epidermal cell shapes, presence of trichomes on the abaxial surfaces of red, white and black, and absence on both surfaces of stripped brown and stripped black varieties were recorded. It was concluded that all the varieties had water conserving properties, however, red variety had the highest water conserving properties of having both small size of stomata and trichomes. These features were found to be of good and reliable taxonomic use for delimiting the five varieties of Bambara groundnut.