Floral organogenesis and the developmental basis for pollinator deception in the Asiatic dayflower, Commelina communis (Commelinaceae)

Christopher R. Hardy, Lindsey L. Sloat, Robert B. Faden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

The upper half of flowers in Commelina communis deceptively lures potential pollinators with its showy petals and staminodes on the false promise of abundant pollen. This paper presents evidence that staminodization in the upper half is associated with a severe retardation of the entire upper floral hemisphere early in development. Possible consequences of this developmental retardation are seen also in the gynoecium, where the upper carpel of the three-carpellate ovary is underdeveloped and sterile at maturity. Only late in development do the upper petals and staminodes expand and acquire pigments necessary for their attractive function. We surmise that retardations of this severity are unlikely to be found for functionally fertile organs such as stamens and ovule-producing carpels, because key preparatory events preceding sporogenesis might otherwise be disrupted. Such differential growth about the floral apex resembles that known in some eudicots to be regulated by the TCP gene family; thus, future molecular developmental studies in Commelina may help to extend our understanding of the evolutionary genetics of floral monosymmetry to monocots.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1236-1244
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of botany
Volume96
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009

Keywords

  • Commelina
  • Commelinaceae
  • Congenital fusion of sepals
  • Dayflower
  • Floral development
  • Floral monosymmetry
  • Pollinator deception
  • Staminode development
  • Staminodization
  • TCP gene family

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