Home
  Search
  JSE at Wiley-Blackwell

 Journal

Accepted Articles

Early View

Current Issue

Archive

 
  Manuscript Submission

Online Submission

Instructions for Authors

Copyright Transfer Agreement


 About JSE

Aims & Scope

Editorial Board

Online Office

Sponsors & Publisher


 Partner Journals

Other Journals from IB-CAS

TAXON

Plant Diversity and Resources

Journal of Systematics and Evolution

Volume 55 Issue 6, Pages 516C524.

Published Online: 18 July 2017

DOI: 10.1111/jse.12260

References
Full Text HTML
Full Text PDF
Print this page
The big, the bad, and the beautiful: Biology of the world's largest flowers

Lachezar A. Nikolov*† and Charles C. Davis*

Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Harvard University Herbaria, Harvard University, Cambridge 02138, MA, USA



Present address: Department of Comparative Development and Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Cologne 50829, Germany

Keywords: floral development; gigantism; homology; horizontal gene transfer; parasitism; Rafflesiaceae

Abstract:

Rafflesiaceae, crowned “the greatest prodigy of the vegetable world”, produce the largest flowers in angiosperms. They are also holoparasites residing inside their vine hosts, and emerge only during flowering. The floral gigantism and obligate parasitism of Rafflesiaceae have rendered their structure unrecognizable to most plant biologists. The vegetative body is composed of highly reduced strands of cells embedded in the host tissue, and does not differentiate into leaves, stems, or roots. The flowers look and smell like decaying animal flesh and exhibit numerous features unknown in the vast majority of flowering plants. This unusual combination of characters, alongside their generally elevated rates of molecular evolution among commonly used phylogenetic markers and propensity for host-to-parasite horizontal gene transfer, has obscured the phylogenetic affinities of Rafflesiaceae since their discovery two centuries ago. Here, we review the phylogenetic placement of Rafflesiaceae and how it has informed a deeper understanding of the pattern and magnitude of horizontal gene transfer in parasitic plants. We also examine the vegetative and reproductive morphology of Rafflesiaceae to provide insight into how these unusual plants are constructed, and offer clues on their evolution from tiny flowered ancestors to floral giants.

 

Copyright © 2017. The Editorial Office, Journal of Systematics and Evolution, Institute of Botany, CAS
No. 20 Nanxincun, Xiangshan, Beijing 100093, China
Tel.: +86 10 62836132; 62836572    Fax:+86 10 62836132
E-mail: jse@ibcas.ac.cn
利嫋姥宛催詐ICP姥16067583催-32