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Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc. 2010 Aug;85(3):571-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-185X.2009.00116.x. Epub 2010 Dec 15.

Floral evolution in the Annonaceae: hypotheses of homeotic mutations and functional convergence.

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Division of Ecology & Biodiversity, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China.


The recent publication of hypotheses explaining the homeotic control of floral organ identity together with the availability of increasingly comprehensive and well-resolved molecular phylogenies presents an ideal opportunity for reassessing current knowledge of floral diversity and evolution in the Annonaceae. This review summarizes currently available information on selected aspects of floral structure and function, including: changes in the number of perianth whorls and the number of perianth parts per whorl; the evolution of sympetaly; the diversity and evolution of pollination chambers (with a novel classification of seven main structural forms of floral chamber based on the different arrangement, size and shape of petals); the evolution of perianth glands; floral unisexuality and hypotheses explaining the unexpectedly high frequency of occurrence of androdioecy; the origin and possible function of inner and outer staminodes; the evolution of stamen connective diversity and theca septation; and the origin of 'true' syncarpy and functionally equivalent extragynoecial compita. In each case, current ideas on the origin, evolution and function are discussed. The information presented in this review enables two main conclusions to be drawn. The first is that changes in the homeotic control of floral organ identity may have had a profound impact on floral structure in several disparate lineages in the family. This is most obvious in Fenerivia, in which a centrifugal shift of floral organ identity has occurred, and in Dasymaschalon, in which a reverse (centripetal) shift has occurred. Other genera that have gained or lost entire perianth whorls are likely to have undergone similar homeotic changes. Attention is also drawn to the extensive functional convergence in Annonaceae flowers, with widespread homoplasy in many characters that have previously been emphasized in higher-level classifications.

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