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Flower And Fruit Characters In The Early-divergent Lamiid Family Metteniusaceae, With Particular Reference To The Evolution Of Pseudomonomery.

F. González, P. Rudall
Published 2010 · Medicine, Biology

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Evaluating the morphological relationships of angiosperm families that still remain unplaced in the current systems of classification is challenging because it requires comparative data across a broad phylogenetic range. The small neotropical family Metteniusaceae was recently placed within the lamiids, as sister to either the enigmatic Oncothecaceae or the clade (Boraginaceae + Gentianales + Lamiales + Solanales + Vahliaceae). We examined the development of two of the primary diagnostic traits of Metteniusaceae, the moniliform anthers and the unilocular gynoecium. The gynoecium is 5-carpellate, and contains two ovules with a massive, vascularized integument. Late sympetaly and unitegmic ovules support placement of Metteniusaceae in the lamiids. The 5-carpellate gynoecium is consistent with a sister-group relationship between Metteniusaceae and Oncothecaceae. The gynoecium of Metteniusaceae is unusual in that it is monosymmetric throughout ontogeny, which indicates pseudomonomery; the five carpel initials are congenitally fused by their margins and form a single locule; the two ovules develop from the two smallest and most poorly developed lateral carpels. Comparisons with other pseudomonomerous taxa allow us to propose division of the complex processes leading to pseudomonomery into eight characters, including carpel number and fusion, gynoecial symmetry, timing of carpel reduction, and number and position of nonfertile carpels.
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