, Volume 298, Issue 8, pp 1437-1453
Date: 26 May 2012

Variation of pollen morphology, and its implications in the phylogeny of Clematis (Ranunculaceae)

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Abstract

Clematis s.l. (including Archiclematis and Naravelia) is a genus of approximately 300 species with cosmopolitan distribution. The diversity of its pollen was surveyed in 162 taxa belonging to all infrageneric groups of Clematis s.l. Pollen morphology was investigated by use of scanning electron microscopy to identify useful characters, test taxonomic and systematic hypotheses, and elucidate pollen character evolution on the basis of the molecular phylogeny. Clematis pollen is small to medium (14.8–32.1 μm × 14.2–28.7 μm), oblate to prolate (P/E = 0.9–1.4) in shape. The apertures may be tricolpate and pantoporate sometimes with 4-zonocolpate and pantocolpate pollen grains as transitional forms. The tricolpate pollen grains are predominant and occur in all the sections of the genus, whereas pantoporate pollen grains can be found in sect. Tubulosae, sect. Viorna, sect. Viticella, and Naravelia only. Phylogenetic mapping of aperture types reveals that the pantoporate pollen type may be the apomorphy in the genus and evolved several times. The surface ornamentation in all taxa studied is similar and characterized by microechinae evenly distributed on the microperforate tectum. The size and density of spinules on the tectum vary greatly but successive in the whole genus. According to the character syndromes of the ornamentation, separating sect. Brachiata from sect. Meclatis is supported. Though pollen morphology may contribute to investigation of problematic taxa, the taxonomic value of pollen morphology is limited at the species level.