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Connective modifications and origin of stamen diversity in Melastomataceae


The androecium of Melastomataceae presents notable modifications in its merosity, morphology between whorls and in prolonged connectives and appendages. We carried out a comparative study of six Melastomataceae species to shed light on the developmental processes that originate such stamen diversity. The development of stamens was studied using scanning electron microscopy and histological observations. The stamens of all species studied have a curved shape because they emerge on a plane displaced by the perigynous hypanthium. They are the last flower organs to initiate and therefore their growth is inwards and towards the floral center. Despite the temporal inversion between carpels and stamens in Melastomataceae, the androecium maintains the centripetal pattern of development, the antepetalous stamens emerging after antesepalous stamens. The isomerous androecium can be the result of abortion of the antepetalous stamens, whereas heterostemony seems to be caused by differences in position and the stamen development time. Pedoconnectives and ventral appendages originate from the basal expansion of the anther late in floral development. The delay in stamen development may be a consequence of their dependence on the formation of a previous space so that they can grow. Most of the stamen diversity is explained by the formation of the connectives and their appendages. The formation of a basal-ventral anther prolongation, which culminates in the development of the pedoconnective, does not differ from other types of sectorial growth of the connective, which form shorter structures.

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This reseach was supported by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq Grants 302806/2019-9 and 310912/2021-0), Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ Grants 201.975/2020 and 201.976/2020) and Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP Grants 2008/10793-0 and 2011/02701-0). The authors thank Edimárcio da Silva Campos (Botany Laboratory/FCFRP-USP), Adriane Cristina Sarti Sprogis and Stella Maris Fick de Ferraz (SEM Laboratory/IB-Unicamp), José Augusto Maulin (SEM Laboratory/BCMBP, FMRP-USP), and Rodrigo Ferreira Silva (SEM Laboratory/FFCLRP-USP) for technical assistance; Ana Paula de Souza Caetano (UFMT) and Priscila Andressa Cortez (Unifesp) for field assistance and interesting discussions on Melastomataceae; Vinícius Lourenço Garcia de Brito (UFU) for thoughtful comments and suggestions; Ana Flávia Alves Versiane and Ana Paula de Souza Caetano (UFMT) for kindly allowing the use of her photographs shown in Figure 2; Liana C. Capucho and Elettra Greene for English revision, and two anonymous reviewers for comments that helped to improve this article.

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JPBA and SPT conceived the research idea. JPBA performed anatomical procedures and drafted the manuscript. RG contributed to the data analyses. All authors contributed to the writing of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Simone Pádua Teixeira.

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Basso-Alves, J.P., Goldenberg, R. & Teixeira, S.P. Connective modifications and origin of stamen diversity in Melastomataceae. J Plant Res 135, 659–680 (2022).

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  • Androecium
  • Anther
  • Floral development
  • Pedoconnective
  • Stamen morphology