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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2007 Oct;45(1):358-76. Epub 2007 Jul 18.

Evolution of resupination in Malagasy species of Bulbophyllum (Orchidaceae).

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Department of Biogeography and Botanical Garden, University of Vienna, Rennweg 14, 1030 Vienna, Austria.


Resupination is the orientation of zygomorphic flowers during development so that the median petal obtains the lowermost position in the mature flower. Despite its evolutionary and ecological significance, resupination has rarely been studied in a phylogenetic context. Ten types of resupination occur among the 210 species of the orchid genus Bulbophyllum on Madagascar. We investigated the evolution of resupination in a representative sample of these species by first reconstructing a combined nrITS and cpDNA phylogeny for a sectional reclassification and then plotting the different types of inflorescence development, which correlated well with main clades. Resupination by apical drooping of the rachis appears to have evolved from apical drooping of the peduncle. Erect inflorescences with resupinate flowers seem to have evolved several times into either erect inflorescences with (partly) non-resupinate flowers or pendulous inflorescences with resupinate flowers.

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