Journal Article

Ontogeny and structure of the acervulate partial inflorescence in <i>Hyophorbe lagenicaulis</i> (Arecaceae; Arecoideae)

N. Ortega-Chávez and F. W. Stauffer

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 108, issue 8, pages 1517-1527
Published in print December 2011 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online June 2011 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI:
Ontogeny and structure of the acervulate partial inflorescence in Hyophorbe lagenicaulis (Arecaceae; Arecoideae)

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Background and Aims

The palm tribe Chamaedoreeae displays flowers arranged in a complex partial inflorescence called an acervulus. This type of partial inflorescence has so far not been reported elsewhere in the largest palm subfamily Arecoideae, which is traditionally characterized by flowers predominantly arranged in triads of one central female and two lateral male flowers. The ontogenetic basis of the acervulus is as yet unknown and its structural diversity throughout the genera of the Chamaedoreeae poorly recorded. This study aims to provide critical information on these aspects.


Developmental series and mature inflorescences were sampled from plants cultivated in international botanical gardens and wild populations. The main techniques employed included scanning electronic microscopy and serial anatomical sectioning of resin-embedded fragments of rachillae.

Key Results

Inflorescence ontogeny in Hyophorbe lagenicaulis demonstrates that the acervulus and the inflorescence rachilla form a condensed and cymose branching system resembling a coenosome. Syndesmy results from a combined process of rapid development and adnation, without or with reduced axis elongation. Acervulus diversity in the ten taxa of the Chamaedoreeae studied is displayed at the level of their positioning within the inflorescence, their arrangement, the number of floral buds and their sexual expression.


The results show that a more general definition of the type of partial inflorescence observed within the large subfamily Arecoideae would correspond to a cyme rather than to a floral triad. In spite of their common cymose architecture, the floral triad and the acervulus present differences with respect to the number and arrangement of floral buds, the superficial pattern of development and sexual expression.

Keywords: Arecoideae; Chamaedoreeae; Hyophorbe lagenicaulis; acervulus; development; partial inflorescence

Journal Article.  5490 words.  Illustrated.

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

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