J Syst Evol ›› 2021, Vol. 59 ›› Issue (1): 183-197.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12517

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Floral development in the androdioecious tree Tapiscia sinensis: Implications for the evolution to androdioecy

Gui-Liang Xin, Guo-Lun Jia, Xiao-Long Ren, Yue-Yue Wang, Peng Zhao, and Wen-Zhe Liu*   

  1. Key Laboratory of Resource Biology and Biotechnology in Western China (Northwest University), Ministry of Education, School of Life Sciences, Northwest University, Xi’an 710069, China
  • Received:2019-02-22 Accepted:2019-05-06 Online:2019-05-23 Published:2021-01-01

Abstract: The evolutionary pathway between hermaphroditism and dioecy (females and males in a single population) draws widespread interests, and androdioecy (bisexuals and males in a single population) is rarely achieved as an intermediate state between the two breeding systems. Flower bud differentiations in the pistils of hermaphrodites and the pistillodes of males in androdioecious Tapiscia sinensis Oliv. are investigated by routine paraffin section technology, light microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy. A phylogenetic approach is used to analyze the origin of androdioecy. In T. sinensis, hermaphroditic flowers (HF) and male flowers (MF) experienced a similar development pattern in early flower bud differentiation, including the initiation of tepals and stamens. However, the carpel differentiation of MF and HF proceed in different patterns. In HF, the central zone bulges out and produces a ring meristem on which two to three carpel primordia emerge, which eventually developed into a normal pistil with a stigma, a style, and an ovary. However, in most MF, vestigial pistils are stem‐like (type I), and very few have an empty ovary (type II) or a sterile ovule (type III). Moreover, the evolution of sexual systems within the Huerteales indicates that hermaphroditism is the primitive character of T. sinensis. Tapiscia sinensis shows different degrees of reduction between male flowers and bisexual ones in the evolution to dioecy. Functional androdioecy originated from a hermaphroditic ancestor in T. sinensis and, as an intermediate sexual system, involves evolution from hermaphrodites to dioecy.

Key words: androdioecious system, floral dimorphism, sexual evolution, Tapiscia sinensis