Journal Article

Floral development of <i>Hydrocera</i> and <i>Impatiens</i> reveals evolutionary trends in the most early diverged lineages of the Balsaminaceae

Steven B. Janssens, Erik F. Smets and Alexander Vrijdaghs

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 109, issue 7, pages 1285-1296
Published in print June 2012 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online April 2012 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcs065
Floral development of Hydrocera and Impatiens reveals evolutionary trends in the most early diverged lineages of the Balsaminaceae

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

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Background and Aims

Balsaminaceae consist of two genera, the monospecific Hydrocera and its species-rich sister Impatiens. Although both genera are seemingly rather similar in overall appearance, they differ in ecology, distribution range, habitat preference and morphology. Because morphological support for the current molecular phylogenetic hypothesis of Impatiens is low, a developmental study is necessary in order to obtain better insights into the evolutionary history of the family. Therefore, the floral development of H. triflora and I. omeiana was investigated, representing the most early-diverged lineage of Impatiens, and the observations were compared with the literature.

Methods

Flowers at all developmental stages were examined using scanning electron microscopy and light microscopy.

Key results

In Hydrocera, two whorls of five free perianth primordia develop into a less zygomorphic perianth compared with its sister genus. The androecial cap originates from five individual stamen primordia. Post-genital fusion of the upper parts of the filaments result in a filament ring below the anthers. The anthers fuse forming connivent anther-like units. The gynoecium of Hydrocera is pentamerous; it is largely synascidiate in early development. Only then is a symplicate zone formed resulting in style and stigmas. In I. omeiana, the perianth is formed as in Hydrocera. Five individual stamen primordia develop into five stamens, of which the upper part of the filaments converge with each other. The gynoecium of I. omeiana is tetramerous; it appears annular in early development.

Conclusions

Comparison of the present results with developmental data from the literature confirms the perianth morphocline hypothesis in which a congenital fusion of the parts of the perianth results in a shift from pentasepalous to trisepalous flowers. In addition, the development of the androecial cap and the gynoecium follows several distinct ontogenetic sequences within the family.

Keywords: Balsaminaceae; androecium; floral development; gynoecium; Hydrocera triflora; Impatiens omeiana

Journal Article.  7243 words.  Illustrated.

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

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