Floral Evolution of Philodendron Subgenus Meconostigma (Araceae)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2014
Authors:Loss-Oliveira, L., Calazans, L. S. B., Morais, E. B., Mayo, S. J., Schrago, C. G., Sakuragui C. M.
Other Numbers:e89701

Elucidating the evolutionary patterns of flower and inflorescence structure is pivotal to understanding the phylogenetic relationships of Angiosperms as a whole. The inflorescence morphology and anatomy of Philodendron subgenus Meconostigma, belonging to the monocot family Araceae, has been widely studied but the evolutionary relationships of subgenus Meconostigma and the evolution of its flower characters have hitherto remained unclear. This study examines gynoecium evolution in subgenus Meconostigma in the context of an estimated molecular phylogeny for all extant species of subgenus Meconostigma and analysis of ancestral character reconstructions of some gynoecial structures. The phylogenetic reconstructions of all extant Meconostigma species were conducted under a maximum likelihood approach based on the sequences of two chloroplast (trnk and matK) and two nuclear (ETS and 18S) markers. This topology was used to reconstruct the ancestral states of seven floral characters and to elucidate their evolutionary pattern in the Meconostigma lineage. Our phylogeny shows that Meconostigma is composed of two major clades, one comprising two Amazonian species and the other all the species from the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado biomes with one Amazonian species. The common ancestor of the species of subgenus Meconostigma probably possessed short stylar lobes, long stylar canals, a stylar body, a vascular plexus in the gynoecium and druses in the stylar parenchyma but it is uncertain whether raphide inclusions were present in the parenchyma. The ancestral lineage also probably possessed up to 10 ovary locules. The evolution of these characters seems to have occurred independently in some lineages. We propose that the morphological and anatomical diversity observed in the gynoecial structures of subgenus Meconostigma is the result of an ongoing process of fusion of floral structures leading to a reduction of energy wastage and increase in stigmatic surface.

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith