Journal Article

Labellar Micromorphology of Two Euglossine-pollinated Orchid Genera; <i>Scuticaria</i> Lindl. and <i>Dichaea</i> Lindl.

Kevin L. Davies and Malgorzata Stpiczyńska

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 102, issue 5, pages 805-824
Published in print November 2008 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online September 2008 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcn155
Labellar Micromorphology of Two Euglossine-pollinated Orchid Genera; Scuticaria Lindl. and Dichaea Lindl.

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Background and Aims

Until recently, there was no consensus regarding the phylogenetic relationships of the Neotropical orchid genera Scuticaria Lindl. and Dichaea Lindl. However, recent evidence derived from both gross morphological and molecular studies supports the inclusion of Scuticaria and Dichaea in sub-tribes Maxillariinae and Zygopetalinae, respectively. The present paper describes the labellar micromorphology of both genera and seeks to establish whether labellar characters support the assignment of Scuticaria and Dichaea to these sub-tribes.

Methods

The labella of four species of Scuticaria and 14 species of Dichaea were examined using light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy, and their micromorphology was compared with that of representative species of Maxillariinae sensu lato and Zygopetalinae (Huntleya clade).

Key Results and Conclusions

In most specimens of Scuticaria examined, the papillose labella bear uniseriate, multicellular, unbranched trichomes. However, in S. steelii (Lindl.) Lindl., branched hairs may also be present and some trichomes may fragment and form pseudopollen. Multicellular, leaf-like scales were also present in one species of Scuticaria. Similar, unbranched hairs are present in certain species of Maxillaria Ruiz & Pav. (Maxillariinae sensu stricto) and Chaubardia Rchb.f. (Huntleya clade). As yet, moniliform, pseudopollen-forming hairs have not been observed for Zygopetalinae, but their presence in Scuticaria steelii, Maxillaria and Heterotaxis Lindl. supports the placing of Scuticaria in Maxillariinae. As other genera are sampled, the presence of branched hairs, hitherto unknown for Maxillariinae sensu lato, may prove to be a useful character in taxonomy and phylogenetic studies. Euglossophily occurs in Dichaea, as well as Chondrorhyncha Lindl. and Pescatorea Rchb.f. (Huntleya clade), and all three genera tend to lack distinctive labellar features. Instead, lip micromorphology is relatively simple and glabrous or papillose. However, two of the Dichaea species examined bear unicellular, labellar trichomes very similar to those found in Bifrenaria Lindl. (pollinated by both euglossine bees and Bombus spp.), and this feature may have arisen by convergence in response to similar pollination pressures.

Keywords: Bifrenaria; Bifrenaria clade; Chaubardia; Chondrorhyncha; Dichaea; Dichaeinae; Heterotaxis; Huntleya clade; Huntleyinae; labellum; Maxillaria; Maxillariinae; papillae; Pescatorea; scales; Scuticaria; trichomes; Zygopetalinae

Journal Article.  6439 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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