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Floral development in Thermopsis turcica, an unusual multicarpellate papilionoid legume

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The vast majority of the species of family Leguminosae have an apocarpous monomerous gynoecium. However, only a few taxa regularly produce multicarpellate gynoecia. The only known species of papilionoid legumes which has both a typical “flag blossom” and more than one carpel is Thermopsis turcica (tribe Thermopsideae). We studied the floral ontogeny of T. turcica with special reference to its gynoecium initiation and development. Flowers arise in simple terminal racemes in a helical order and are subtended by bracts. Bracteoles are initiated but then suppressed. Sepals appear more or less simultaneously. Then, petals emerge and remain retarded in development until later stages. The gynoecium usually includes three carpels with an abaxial one initiating first and two adaxial carpels arising later and developing somewhat asynchronously. The abaxial carpel appears concomitant with the outer stamens and is always oriented with its cleft toward the adaxial side, while the adaxial carpels face each other with their clefts and have them slightly turned to the adaxial side. Rarely uni-, bi- or tetracarpellate flowers arise. Seed productivity of T. turcica is on approximately the same level as in unicarpellate species of Thermopsis hence supporting the fact that the multicarpellate habit is adaptive or at least not harmful in this species.

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The authors express their gratitude to Dr. Olga A. Volkova and Dr. Elena E. Severova for helpful comments on description of pollen morphology, to Margarita M. Markova for assistance with statistical procedures, to Dr. Louis Ronse de Craene and to two anonymous reviewers for helpful criticism on a manuscript. The assistance of Burçin Çıngay for Thermopsis collection (Garden Department of Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanic Garden) and Cleva Ow-Yang and Dilek Çakıroğlu at the SEM facility (Nanotechnology Research and Application Centre, Sabanci University) is greatly appreciated. Some details of SEM preparation protocol were discussed with Anatolii G. Bogdanov (Interdepartmental Laboratory of Electron Microscopy, Moscow State University) to whom authors are also thankful. The authors would like to thank Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanical Garden for providing research material and their support. The work was partially supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (Project No. 15-04-6374) and by the Ali Nihat Gökyiğit Foundation of Turkey.

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Correspondence to Andrey A. Sinjushin.

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The authors declare they have no potential conflict of interest.

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Handling editor: Louis P. Ronse De Craene.

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Sinjushin, A.A., Tekdal, D., Ciftci, C. et al. Floral development in Thermopsis turcica, an unusual multicarpellate papilionoid legume. Plant Syst Evol 304, 461–471 (2018).

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