The morphological characteristics of pollen grains of Linum species in Mexico have not previously been evaluated in quantitative terms. This study reports statistical values of pollen characteristics – polar axis, equatorial axis, shape, polar area, exine thickness, sexine thickness, nexine thickness, and height and diameter of ornamental pollen elements – of 11 of the 13 endemic species accepted to date and for which material was available: L. cruciata, L. flagellare, L. lasiocarpum, L. longipes, L. mexicanum, L. modestum, L. orizabae, L. pringlei, L. rzedowskii, L. scabrellum, and L. tenellum. The detailed light and scanning electron microscopy study revealed that the pollen is prolate-spheroidal to subprolate, tricolpate and with semitectate exine sculptured with bacula, clavae, gemmae or spines whose height and diameter follow a homogeneous, intermediate, or heterogeneous pattern. The principal component analysis found that five characters, namely the height of the ornamental elements, sexine thickness, exine thickness, diameter of ornamental elements, and nexine thickness, explained the highest percentage of the variance between species. The cluster and discriminant analyses classified some of the species into three groups and differentiated three of them according to their morphology. The difficulty in distinguishing some species through a conventional approach was solved conveniently using palynological traits since the ornamentation pattern of pollen grains was unique and because grains of various species were statistically different, thus representing a tool for identifying Linum species.

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