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Am J Bot. 2001 Dec;88(12):2143-50.

The questionable affinities of Lactoris: evidence from branching pattern, inflorescence morphology, and stipule development.

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Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional, Ap. Ae. 7495, Bogotá, Colombia; and.


The phylogenetically ambivalent monotypic genus Lactoris presents sympodial (determinate) branching, as a terminal flower is present on each main branch. The synflorescence is thyrsoid. Partial inflorescences are rhipidia with up to three flowers. The ochrealike stipule is formed by the fusion of two lateral stipules, which forms an adaxial ligule-like structure and a two-flanked leaf sheath that encircles the parental axis. The leaf sheath elongates with the growth of the preceding internode. Although sympodial growth and a sheathing leaf base are present in all Piperales (Aristolochiaceae, Lactoridaceae, Piperaceae, and Saururaceae), the presence of stipules is confined to Lactoris, Saururaceae, and some Piperaceae. These characters are consistent with the placement of Lactoris within Piperales, although its phylogenetic position within the order remains equivocal, except for the possible sister group relationship suggested by the presence of cymose inflorescences in both Lactoris and Aristolochiaceae.

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