Floral development of petaloid Alismatales as an insight into the origin of the trimerous Bauplan in monocot flowers

Abstract

Monocots are remarkably homogeneous in sharing a common trimerous pentacyclic floral Bauplan. A major factor affecting monocot evolution is the unique origin of the clade from basal angiosperms. The origin of the floral Bauplan of monocots remains controversial, as no immediate sister groups with similar structure can be identified among basal angiosperms, and there are several possibilities for an ancestral floral structure, including more complex flowers with higher stamen and carpel numbers, or strongly reduced flowers. Additionally, a stable Bauplan is only established beyond the divergence of Alismatales. Here, we observed the floral development of five members of the three ‘petaloid’ Alismatales families Butomaceae, Hydrocharitaceae, and Alismataceae. Outer stamen pairs can be recognized in mature flowers of Alismataceae and Butomaceae. Paired stamens always arise independently, and are either shifted opposite the sepals or close to the petals. The position of stamen pairs is related to the early development of the petals. In Butomaceae, the perianth is not differentiated and the development of the inner tepals is not delayed; the larger inner tepals (petals) only permit the initiation of stamens in antesepalous pairs. Alismataceae has delayed petals and the stamens are shifted close to the petals, leading to an association of stamen pairs with petals in so-called stamen–petal complexes. In the studied Hydrocharitaceae species, which have the monocot floral Bauplan, paired stamens are replaced by larger single stamens and the petals are not delayed. These results indicate that the origin of the floral Bauplan, at least in petaloid Alismatales, is closely linked to the position of stamen pairs and the rate of petal development. Although the petaloid Alismatales are not immediately at the base of monocot divergence, the floral evolution inferred from the results should be a key to elucidate the origin of the floral Bauplan of monocots.

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Acknowledgements

This work was partly supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant number 16K18576 to AI. The authors thank Dr. Paula Rudall, Royal Botanic gardens, Kew, Mr. Ueda, Mizunomori Water Botanical Garden, and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh for support in collecting materials. Thanks of the authors also go to Robbie Lewis, MSc, from Edanz Group (http://www.edanzediting.com/ac) for editing a draft of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Akitoshi Iwamoto.

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Iwamoto, A., Nakamura, A., Kurihara, S. et al. Floral development of petaloid Alismatales as an insight into the origin of the trimerous Bauplan in monocot flowers. J Plant Res 131, 395–407 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10265-018-1022-0

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Keywords

  • Petaloid Alismatales
  • Floral development
  • Stamen pairs
  • Monocot flower
  • Trimerous Bauplan