, Volume 247, Issue 3-4, pp 215-231
Date: 14 Jun 2004

Floral anatomy of Bromeliaceae, with particular reference to the evolution of epigyny and septal nectaries in commelinid monocots

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Abstract.

Floral anatomy is described in ten genera of Bromeliaceae, including three members of subfamily Bromelioideae, three Tillandsioideae, and four genera of the polyphyletic subfamily Pitcairnioideae (including Brocchinia, the putatively basal genus of Bromeliaceae). Bromeliaceae are probably unique in the order Poales in possessing septal nectaries and epigynous or semi-epigynous flowers. Evidence presented here from floral ontogeny, vasculature, and the relative positions of nectary and ovules indicates that there could have been one or more reversals to apparent hypogyny in Bromeliaceae, although this hypothesis requires a better-resolved phylogeny. Such evolutionary reversals probably evolved in response to specialist pollinators, and in conjunction with other aspects of floral morphology of Bromeliaceae, such as the petal appendages of some species. The ovary is initiated in an inferior position even in semi-epigynous or hypogynous species. The ovary of all so-called hypogynous Bromeliaceae is actually semi-inferior, because the septal nectary is infralocular; in these species the nectaries have a labyrinthine surface and many vascular bundles. Brocchinia differs from most other fully epigynous species in that each carpel is secretory at the apex and reproductive, rather than secretory, at the base.