Floral structure and ontogeny of Syndiclis (Lauraceae)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2017
Authors:G. Zeng, Liu, B., Ferguson, D. K., Rohwer, J. G., Yang, Y.
Journal:PLoS ONE
Date Published:10/2017

Generic delimitation in the Beilschmiedia group of the Lauraceae remains ambiguous because flowering specimens of a few genera with confined distribution are poorly represented in herbaria, and a few floral characters important for taxonomy are still poorly known. Syndiclis is sporadically distributed in southwestern China, and is represented in the herbaria by only a few flowering specimens. We conducted field investigations to collect floral materials of four species and observed structures and ontogeny of the tiny flowers using both light microscopy (LM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results show that the genus Syndiclis possesses flowers with huge variation in both merosity and organ number. Flowers of the genus are dimerous, trimerous, or tetramerous, or have mixed merosity with monomerous and dimerous, or dimerous and trimerous, or trimerous and tetramerous whorls. The number of staminodes ranges from two to eight, depending on floral merosity, and on how many stamens of the third androecial whorl are reduced to staminodes. The staminodes of the fourth androecial whorl are comparable to the staminodes in Potameia, but the staminodes of the third androecial whorl of Syndiclis are relatively larger than the staminodes in Potameia. They are erect or curved inwards, covering the ovary. The anthers are usually two-locular, but rarely one-locular or three-locular. Each stamen of the third androecial whorl bears two conspicuous and enlarged glands at the base. The lability of floral merosity and organ number of Syndiclis may have been caused by changes of pollination system and loss of special selective pressures that are present in most Lauraceous plants with fixed floral organ number. This study furthers our understanding of variation and evolution of a few important characters of the Beilschmiedia group and provides essential data for a revised generic classification of the group.

DOI:10.1371/journal. pone.0186358
Alternate Journal:PLoS ONE
Refereed Designation:Refereed
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith