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Floral development of Dieffenbachia and the occurrence of atypical flowers in Araceae

Barabé, Denis, Lacroix, Christian
Botanical studies 2014 v.55 no.1 pp. 30
Dieffenbachia seguine, female flowers, females, flowering, male flowers, males, meristems, phylogeny, stamens
BACKGROUND: The floral development of Dieffenbachia seguine (N. J. Jacquin) Schott is analysed in relation to the molecular phylogeny of the Spathicarpae by Cusimano et al. (Am J Bot 98:654–668, 2011). RESULTS: The initiation of discoid floral primordia occurs acropetally on the surface of the spadix. Female flowers, atypical bisexual flowers, sterile male flowers, and male flowers share the same phyllotactic spirals on the spadix. Four or five stamen primordia are initiated simultaneously on the periphery of the male floral meristem. During early stages of stamen initiation, individual stamen primordia are connate at their base. In a synandrium, stamen fusion occurs very early during their developmental cycle with the stamens being already united laterally when longitudinal elongation occurs. The staminodes are also initiated on the periphery of the discoid floral primordium, and their number varies from four to six. The development of the fused staminodes will eventually form a longitudinal cavity in the center of the mature synandrode. The atypical flowers located in the intermediate zone range in morphology from aborted female flowers to rudimentary sterile male flowers with incomplete staminodes. CONCLUSIONS: The development of the female flower of Dieffenbachia Schott presents some similarities with atypical bisexual flowers of Cercestis Schott representing one of three types of aberrant flower forms in the family. From a developmental point of view and in the context of a phylogeny of the group, we believe that the presence of staminodes in the female zone constitutes a plesiomorphy in the tribe Spathicarpeae.