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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2007 Feb;10(1):52-7. Epub 2006 Nov 30.

Floral phyllotaxis in basal angiosperms: development and evolution.

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Institute of Systematic Botany, University of Zurich, Zollikerstrasse 108, 8008 Zurich, Switzerland.


To date, molecular developmental studies have focused on vegetative rather than floral phyllotaxis because vegetative shoot apices are technically more tractable than floral apices in model plants. In contrast to evolutionary changes in the phyllotaxis of vegetative shoots, however, changes in floral phyllotaxis appear to have played a major role in angiosperm evolution. Consolidation of a whorled floral phyllotaxis in derived groups allowed synorganization of floral organs and further adaptive radiations. In basal angiosperms, floral phyllotaxis is more flexible. To study these phenomena, we need clarification of the complex relations of both spiral and whorled phyllotaxis with divergence angles, plastochrons, spiral versus simultaneous initiation of organs, parastichies, orthostichies, organ series, and whorls. Improved resolution of phylogenetic relationships and increased knowledge of the diversity of floral phyllotaxis will allow us to trace evolutionary changes in floral phyllotaxis in ever more detail. Already, such surveys have confirmed that floral phyllotaxis was unusually labile early in angiosperm evolution. Whether the original floral phyllotaxis in angiosperms was spiral or whorled is equivocal, but it appears that spiral floral phyllotaxis in Magnoliales and Laurales is derived rather than primitive.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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