Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 130, Issue 4, pp 709–721 | Cite as

Embryology of Pera (Peraceae, Malpighiales): systematics and evolutionary implications

  • Rafael de Olivera Franca
  • Orlando Cavalari De-Paula
Regular Paper


Pera is a neotropical genus that currently belongs to the family Peraceae. This circumscription resulted from an inclusion of the Rafflesiaceae between the old tribe Pereae and all other Euphorbiaceae, and wherein Pereae was elevated to family rank making Euphorbiaceae monophyletic again. These changes are necessary although Rafflesiaceae are holoparasitic with extremely reduced vegetative bodies and large flowers while Peraceae and Euphorbiaceae have well developed vegetative parts and reduced flowers. As the embryology of Peraceae was poorly known, and embryological processes are conservative, we studied the embryology of Pera glabrata, searching for similarities between Peraceae, Rafflesiaceae, and Euphorbiaceae that could support this grouping. Usual methods of light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy were utilised. The results show endothecium with reversed-T-shaped cells, prismatic crystals in the tapetum, and disintegrated aerenchymatous septum in the mature fruit as unique features for Peraceae and possibly apomorphies for the family. In addition to the unisexual flowers, porogamous fertilization is present and one ovule per carpel which may support the Peraceae–Rafflesiaceae–Euphorbiaceae clade. The comparative approach also suggests possible (syn-)apomorphies for linoids and phyllanthoids, only linoids, Rafflesiaceae, Euphorbiaceae, and Ixonanthaceae. The presence of a placental obturator found previously unknown in Peraceae emerged as a possible synapomorphy for the euphorbioids (including Ixonanthaceae, Linaceae, Phyllanthaceae, Picrodendraceae, Peraceae, Rafflesiaceae, and Euphorbiaceae), which appeared in a common ancestor of the group and has been lost in Rafflesiaceae.


Anatomy Fruit Gametogenesis Morphology Ontogeny Seed Sporogenesis 



The study was supported by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnológico (CNPq no. 484376/2013-6). The authors thank Glein Monteiro de Araújo for help in locating the species and the Laboratório Multiusuário de Microscopia Eletrônica of the Faculdade de Engenharia Química (UFU) for technical support with the SEM. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer Japan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rafael de Olivera Franca
    • 1
  • Orlando Cavalari De-Paula
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de BiologiaUniversidade Federal de Uberlândia (UFU)UberlândiaBrazil

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