Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 152, Issue 1–2, pp 101–121 | Cite as

Sieve element characters and the systematic position ofAustrobaileya, Austrobaileyaceae—with comments to the distinction and definition of sieve cells and sieve-tube members

  • H. -Dietmar Behnke


The ultrastructure of the sieve elements ofAustrobaileya is compared with that of angiosperm sieve tubes and gymnosperm sieve cells (mostly fromCycadales). Except for the size of the sieve poresAustrobaileya shares all ultrastructural characters (e.g., chromatolytic nuclear degeneration, presence of p-protein, formation of sieve pores from unbranched plasmodesmata) and other features (e.g., companion cells) with angiosperm sieve tubes. Gymnosperm sieve cells on the contrary are characterized by pycnotic nuclear degeneration, absence of p-protein, formation of sieve areas from branched plasmodesmata with median cavities. — The exact ordinal assignment ofAustrobaileya within the subclassMagnoliidae is still disputed, a placement close to eitherMyristicaceae andWinteraceae orMonimiaceae being possible as judged from both S-type sieve-element plastids and p-protein bodies. — On the basis of the ultrastructural results fromAustrobaileya it is proposed to reconsider concepts and terminology of sieve elements. i.e., to include features from sieve pore development, nuclei degeneration and presence of specific proteins into the definitions and to restrict the term sieve cell to gymnospermous sieve elements which differ much from those of other vascular plants.

Key words

Angiosperms Gymnosperms Cycadales Austrobaileyaceae Austrobaileya Sieve cells sieve tubes ultrastructure of sieve pores p-protein sieve-element terminology 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. -Dietmar Behnke
    • 1
  1. 1.Zellenlehre der UniversitätHeidelbergFederal Republic of Germany

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