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Brittonia

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 356–362 | Cite as

Evolutionary trends in the Central American species of Piper (Piperaceae)

  • William C. Burger
Article

Abstract

The gross morphology of the Central American species ofPiper is surveyed in respect to habit and habitat, protection of the shoot-tip, form and condensation of the inflorescence and floral parts, and anther-dehiscence. The cap-like structure covering the shoot-tip in many species is interpreted as a modified prophyll. A ligulate development and the inclusion of the inflorescence within the sheathing leaf-base in a few species are discussed. Diminution and compaction of the floral parts are interpreted as an evolutionary response to the activities of small pollen-collecting bees. Compaction of the floral parts is correlated with a truncation of the pistil apex and, in a few species, with a change in the mode of anther dehiscence. Apical and upward dehiscence of the anthers are interpreted as similar adaptations caused by a restriction of the pollinator’s activity to the surface of the spike. A relationship between ants and certain hollow-stemmed species is mentioned. The multiple origins and independent lines of evolutionary development discussed here suggest a complex phyletic history of the genus.

Keywords

Evolutionary Trend Floral Morphology Flower Part Floral Part Flowering Node 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • William C. Burger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyField Museum of Natural HistoryChicago

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