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Floral structure and development in Nartheciaceae (Dioscoreales), with special reference to ovary position and septal nectaries

Abstract

We present a comparative study of the floral structure and development of Nartheciaceae, a small dioscorealean family consisting of five genera (Aletris, Lophiola, Metanarthecium, Narthecium, and Nietneria). A noticeable diversity existed in nine floral characters. Analyses of their respective character states in the light of a phylogenetic context revealed that the flowers of Nartheciaceae, whose plesiomorphies occur in Aletris and Metanarthecium, have evolved toward in all or part of Lophiola, Narthecium, and Nietneria: (1) loss of a perianth tube; (2) stamen insertion at the perianth base; (3) congenital carpel fusion; (4) loss of the septal nectaries; (5) unilocular style; (6) unfused lateral carpellary margins in the style; (7) flower with the median outer tepal on the abaxial side; (8) flower with moniliform hairs; and (9) flower with weak monosymmetry. We further found that, as the flowers developed, the ovary shifted its position from inferior to superior. As a whole, their structure changes suggest that the Nartheciaceae flowers have evolved in close association with pollination and seed dispersal. By considering inferior ovaries and the presence of septal nectaries as plesiomorphies of Nartheciaceae, we discussed evolution of the ovary position and septal nectaries in all the monocots.

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Acknowledgements

The study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (No. 16H05763, 17K07530).

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Correspondence to Hiroshi Tobe.

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Tobe, H., Huang, YL., Kadokawa, T. et al. Floral structure and development in Nartheciaceae (Dioscoreales), with special reference to ovary position and septal nectaries. J Plant Res 131, 411–428 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10265-018-1026-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10265-018-1026-9

Keywords

  • Dioscoreales
  • Flower evolution
  • Monocots
  • Nartheciaceae
  • Ovary position
  • Septal nectary