Floral morphogenesis of Celtis species: implications for breeding system and reduced floral structure

Flávia M. Leme, Yannick M. Staedler, Jürg Schönenberger, Simone P. Teixeira

Abstract Premise Celtis is the most species-rich genus of Cannabaceae, an economically important family. Celtis species have been described as wind-pollinated and andromonoecious. However, the andromonoecy of Celtis has been debated because there are reports of monoclinous flowers with non-opening anthers on short filaments. Our objective was to study the floral morphogenesis of Celtis to establish the breeding system and to better understand the developmental patterns that lead to the formation of reduced flowers in the genus. Methods Flowers and floral buds of Celtis species were studied using scanning electron microscopy, high-resolution x-ray computed tomography, and light microscopy. Results All flowers initiate stamens and carpels during early floral development, but either stamens or carpels abort during later stages. Thus, at anthesis, flowers are either functionally pistillate or functionally staminate. In pistillate flowers, stamens abort late and become staminodes with normal-looking anthers. These anthers have no functional endothecium and, in most of the species studied, produce no viable pollen grains. The gynoecium is pseudomonomerous, and its vascularization is similar in the sampled species. In staminate flowers, the gynoecium aborts early resulting in small pistillodes. No vestiges of petals were found. Conclusions The species studied are monoecious and not andromonoecious as described earlier. The absence of petals, the carpel and stamen abortion, and the pseudomonomerous gynoecium result in the reduced flowers of Celtis species. The use of high-resolution x-ray computed tomography was essential for a more accurate interpretation of ovary vascularization, confirming the pseudomonomerous structure of the gynoecium.

Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research
External organisation(s)
Universidade Estadual de Campinas, University of São Paulo
American Journal of Botany: the journal for all plant biologists
No. of pages
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
106008 Botany, 106012 Evolutionary research, 106042 Systematic botany
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Genetics, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, Plant Science
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