J Syst Evol ›› 1982, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (4): 402-409.

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Chromosome observations of three ranunculaceous genera in relation to their systematic positions

Zhang Zhi-Yu   

  1. (Institute of Botany, Academia Sinica)
  • Published:1982-11-18

Abstract: 1. The present paper describes the observations of chromosome numbers and karyomorphology of 2 species of 2 endemic genera and I endemic species of Chinese Ranunculaceae: Asteropyrum peltatum (Franch.) Drumm et Hutch. 2n=16, x=8; Kingdonia unifolia Balf. f. et W. W. Sm. 2n=18, x=9 and Calathodes oxycarpa Sprague 2n=16, x=8. The chromosome counts of three ranunculaceous genera are reported for the first time. 2. The morphylogical, palynological and cytological date in relation to the systematic postition of Asteropyrum, Kingdonia and Calathodes within the family Ranunculaceae are diseussed and resulted in following conclusions: (1). On the basis of the basic number x=8 in Asteropyrum, it is further confirmed that this genus is distinct from the r elated genera such as Isopyrum, Dichocarpum and other allied taxa. The comparison of Asteropyrum with Coptis shows that they are identical in short chromosomes, with magnoflorina and benzylisaquinodine type of alkaloides, but different from coptis in the chromosome numbers (T-type), pantocolpate pollens, united carpels and the dorsi-ventral type of petioles. In view of these fundamental morphological and cytological differences, Asterop yrum is better raised to the level of Tribe. However Asteropyrum and Coptis may represent two divaricate evolutional lines of Thalictroideae. (2). The systematic position of the genus Kingdonia has been much disputed in the past. We support the view of Sinnote (1914), namely, the trilacunar in leaf traces “the ancient type”, appeared in the angiosperm line very early, while the unilacunar of Kingdonia may be derived from the trilacunar. On the basis of the chromosome numbers and morphylogical observation, the present writer accept Tamura’s and Wang’s treatment by keeping Kingdonia in Ranunculaceae instead of raising it to a family rank as has been been done by Forster (1961). Kingdonia and Coptis are similar in having short chromosome with x=9, but with one-seeded fruits; therefore it is suggested that placed into Thalictroideae as an independent tribe, indicating its close relationship with Coptideae. (3). Comparing with its allies, Calathodes being with out petals, seems to be more primitive than Trollius. But Calathodes differs from Trollius with R-type chromosomes in having T-type chromosome with x=8 and subterminal centromere. Those characteristics show that it is very similar to the related genera of Thalictroideae. But as Kurita already pointed out that most speci es of Ranunculus have usually large long chromosomes but some species have compar ativelly short chromosomes, therefore we regard T-type and R-type chromosomes appear independently in different subfamilies of Ranunculaceae. According to Tamura, G alathodes seems to be closely related to Megaleranthis, because of the resemblance in follicles. But due to lack of cytological data of the latter genus, the relationship between the two genera still is not clear pending further studies. From the fact that the morphology and chromosomes of the Calathodes differs from that of all other genera of the Helleboroideae, we consider Calathodes may form an independent tribe of its own with a closer relationship withTrollieae.9841