Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 258, Issue 1–2, pp 1–15 | Cite as

Comparative floral anatomy and ontogeny in Magnoliaceae

  • F. XuEmail author
  • P. J. Rudall


Floral anatomy and ontogeny are described in six species of Magnoliaceae, representing the two subfamilies Liriodendroideae (Liriodendron chinese and L. tulipifera) and Magnolioideae, including species with terminal flowers (Magnolia championi, M. delavayi, M. grandiflora, M. paenetalauma) and axillary flowers (Michelia crassipes). The sequence of initiation of floral organs is from proximal to distal. The three distinct outermost organs are initiated in sequence, but ultimately form a single whorl; thus their ontogeny is consistent with a tepal interpretation. Tepals are initiated in whorls, and the stamens and carpels are spirally arranged, though the androecium shows some intermediacy between a spiral and whorled arrangement. Carpels are entirely free from each other both at primordial stages and maturity. Ventral closure of the style ranges from open in Magnolia species examined to partially closed in Michelia crassipes and completely closed in Liriodendron, resulting in a reduced stigma surface. Thick-walled cells and tannins are present in all species except Michelia crassipes. Oil cells are normally present. Floral structure is relatively homogeneous in this family, although Liriodendron differs from other Magnoliaceae in that the carpels are entirely closed at maturity, resulting in a relatively small stigma, in contrast to the elongate stigma of most species of Magnolia. The flower of Magnolia does not terminate in an organ or organ whorl but achieves determinacy by gradual diminution.


Floral development Floral morphology Liriodendron Magnolia Michelia 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.South China Botanical GardenAcademia SinicaGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Royal Botanic GardensSurreyUK

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