Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 300, Issue 6, pp 1285–1297 | Cite as

Floral ontogeny in Passiflora lobata (Malpighiales, Passifloraceae) reveals a rare pattern in petal formation and provides new evidence for interpretation of the tendril and corona

Original Article


Passiflora lobata differs from most other passion flowers in that it has a tetramerous gynoecium and dorsiventral flowers. A detailed ontogenetic analysis using scanning electron microscopy revealed the following characters: tendril formation starts late, indicating an axial nature. The paired flowers show mirror symmetry, which is manifested very early in ontogeny. Five sepals initiate in a spiral followed by five petals, which are formed successively adjacent to each other. This is a rare pattern and the first report in Passifloraceae. Frequently a sixth petal primordium was found, which never develops and which could be interpreted as the first outgrowth or frill of the corona (which therefore might be interpreted as derived from the perianth). The abaxial carpel forms always in front of the first-formed sepal. The remaining three carpels are alternate with the stamens. This means that a positional change took place from the typical trimerous ovary with two carpels in front of stamens to only one antestaminal carpel in P. lobata. This shift might have opened up space for a fourth carpel. Together with the analysis of other tetramerous Passifloraceae, this study will foster the understanding of flower morphology in this family and its systematic relationships among Malpighiales.


Corona Floral ontogeny Inflorescence Malpighiales Tendril Passifloraceae Passiflora Tetrastylis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jodrell LaboratoryRoyal Botanic Gardens, KewSurreyUK

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