Prolonged embryogenesis in Austrobaileya scandens (Austrobaileyaceae): its ecological and evolutionary significance
News from Jun 20, 2017
In this paper, we followed the embryology of Austrobaileya scandens which belong to one of the earliest diverging lineage of flowering plants, and had never been studied in detail before. After 7 years of patient and tidious work, including a trip from Juan Losada to collect flowers and fruits in the canopy of Queensland, our study showed that about twelve months elapse from fertilization to fruit abscission, and after the seeds are dispersed with a minute embryo, they require another 12 additional months for seedling establishment. Slow embryogenesis had already been reported in some other early diverging lineages, but the 2 yr required for seedling establishment is an apomorphic feature of A. scandens, probably related to germination in extremely dark understory conditions.
(see New Phytologist(2017) 215:851–864. doi: 10.1111/nph.14621)
1 Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA;
2 Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, 1300 Centre Street, Boston, MA 02131, USA;
3 Institute of Biology, Structural and Functional Plant Diversity Group, Freie Universit€at Berlin, Altensteinstrasse 6, Berlin 14195, Germany
* These authors contribute equally to the work. Author for correspondence: William E. Friedman. Tel: +1 617 384 7744. Email: email@example.com
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