Stigma Diversity in Tropical Legumes with Considerations on Stigma Classification

Abstract

The great stigma diversity in angiosperms implies a choice of criteria for stigma classification, which nowadays is characterized as dry (= little or no secretory surface and exudate retained by the cuticle and/or protein pellicle), wet (= conspicuous secretory surface, abundant in fluid exudate) and semidry (exudate retained by cuticle and/or protein pellicle). Despite being a very species-rich family, whose representatives exhibit a wide floral variation, no comparative studies of stigma diversity have been done for the whole Leguminosae. In order to assess the stigma morphological diversity in legumes and to evaluate the criteria used in the main classifications of the stigma, we compared the stigma morphology in 15 distinct legume lineages. In addition, we evaluated the stigma classification in other 152 legume species whose morphology was already described in the literature. Stigmas were removed from floral buds and flowers and processed for analyses under scanning electron and light microscopes. The stigma of the study legumes exhibits quite variable morphology, mainly concerning the diameter, the occurrence of an orifice or a furrow, the coating, the cellular composition, and the occurrence, chemical nature and release mechanism of the exudate. This diversity appears to be related mainly to the evolutionary history of the group and also to the selective pressures exerted by different types of pollen and pollinator. More conflicting criteria for stigma classification lie in defining the semidry type, found mostly in papilionoids. For better stigma classification we suggest that stigma morphology be evaluated at the time prior to anthesis, when the cuticle is not yet broken and the exudate is not exposed or drained. In addition, several techniques should be employed for a better classification.

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Acknowledgments

We thank to Fundação de Amparao à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (process numbers 2002/11834-5, 2008/57487-0 and 2009/01057-0), Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (process numbers 142876/2008-9, 301960/2009-7 and 152759/2010-7), and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Proex) for financial support; Edmárcio S. Campos (FCFRP/USP), Maria Dolores S. Ferreira (FMRP/USP), Paulo D. Frighetto (FMRP/USP), Rodrigo F. Silva (FFCLRP/USP) and Adriane C. S. Sprogis (IB/UNICAMP) for technical assistance; and Dewey Litwiller (University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada) for English review.

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Costa, M.F.B., Paulino, J.V., Marinho, C.R. et al. Stigma Diversity in Tropical Legumes with Considerations on Stigma Classification. Bot. Rev. 80, 1–29 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12229-014-9131-5

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Keywords

  • Anatomy
  • Cuticle
  • Exudate
  • Flower
  • Leguminosae
  • Morphology