Flowers and inflorescences of the seagrass Posidonia (Posidoniaceae, Alismatales)

Sebastiano Calvo, Agostino Tomasello, Sebastiano Calvo, Paula J. Rudall, Dmitry D. Sokoloff, Agostino Tomasello, Margarita V. Remizowa

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Premise of the study: The predominantly aquatic order Alismatales displays a highly variable fl ower groundplan associatedwith a diverse range of developmental patterns. We present the fi rst detailed description of fl ower anatomy and development inPosidonia , the sole genus of the seagrass family Posidoniaceae. Existing accounts provide confl icting interpretations of fl oraland infl orescence structure, so this investigation is important in clarifying morphological evolution within this early-divergentmonocot order.• Methods: We investigated two species of Posidonia using light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Our observationsare interpreted in the framework of a recent molecular phylogeny.• Key results: Partial infl orescences are bracteate spikes, which are arranged into a botryoid or a panicle. The fl owers are perianthless.The gynoecium is monomerous with the ventral carpel side oriented abaxially. The carpel contains a single pendentbitegmic ovule with a nucellus and long chalaza, both extending along the carpel wall. The ovule develops an integumentaryoutgrowth. Each fl ower is supplied by a vascular bundle, whereas the fl ower-subtending bracts are nonvascularized.• Conclusions: Our data support a racemose interpretation for the partial infl orescence of Posidonia and the presence of fl owersubtendingbracts. In common with some other Alismatales, Posidonia has simultaneous development of the fl ower and itssubtending bract and loss of the bract vascular supply accompanied by innervation of the fl ower by a single vascular strand.The unusual carpel orientation could be an evolutionary reduction of a formerly tricarpellate gynoecium. The ovule ofPosidonia is campylotropous and unusual within Alismatales in possessing an integumentary outgrowth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1592-1608
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Publication statusPublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science

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