J Syst Evol ›› 1983, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (3): 229-235.

• Research Articles •     Next Articles

The Systematic Position of Genus Taihangia in Rosaceae

Yü Te-Tsun, Li Chao-Luan   

  • Published:1983-08-18

Abstract: We have described a new genus Taihangia, collected from, the south part of Taihang Mountain in northern China. At the same time, comparative studies on Taihangia with its related genera have been made in various fields including external morphology, anatomy of carpels, chromosome and pollen morphology by light, scanning and transmission electron microscope. In addition, isoperoxidases of two varietier were analysed by means of polya-crylamide gel slab electrophoresis. The preliminary results are as follows: Morphology: The genus Taihangia is perennial and has simple leaves, occasionally with 1—2 very small reduced lobes on the upper part of petiole; flowers white, andromonoecious and androdioecious, terminal, single or rarely 2 on a leafless scape; calyx and cpicalyx with 5 segments; petals 5; stamens numerous; pistils numerous, with pubescent styles, spirally inserted on the receptacle in bisexual flowers, but with less number of abortive and glabrous pistils in male flowers. In comparison with the related genera such as Dryas, Geum, Coluria and Waldsteinia, the new genus has unisexual flowers and always herbaceous habit indicating its advanced feature but the genus has a primitive style with thin and short hairs as compared with the genus Dryas which has long, pinnately haired styles, a character greatly facilitamg anemo-choric dissemination. The styles of Taihangia are slender and differ from those of the ge-nus Geum which are articulate, with a persistent hooked rostrum, thus adapting to epizo-ochoric dissemination to a higher degree. The anatomy of carpels shows the baral position of ovules in the genus Taihangia like those in other related genera such as Dryas, Geum, Acomastylis, Coluria and Waldsteinia. This suggests that the new genus and its related ones are in a common evolutionary line as compared with the other tribes which have a pendulous ovule and represent a separate evolutionary line in Rosaceae. Dorsal and ventral bundles in carpels through sections are free at the base. Neither fusion, nor reduction of dorsals and vertrals. are observed. This shows that the genus Taihangia is rather primitive. Somatic chromosome: All the living plants, collected from both Honan and Hopei Provinces were examined. The results show that in these plants the chromosome number is 2n= 14, and thus the basic number of chromosome is x=7. Such a diploid genus is first found in both anemochoric and epizoochoric genera. Therefore, in this respect Taihangia is primitive as compared with herbaceous polyploid genus Geum and related ones. Pollen: The stereostructure shown by scanning electron microscope reveals that the pollen grains of the genus Taihangia are ellipsoid and 3-colporate. There are two types of exine sculpture. One is rather shortly striate and it seems rugulate over the pollen surface; the other is long-striate. The genus Dryas differs in having only short and thick striae over the surface. The genus is similar to the genera Geum, Coluria and Waldsteinia in colpustype, but differs from them in that they all have long, parallel striae which are distributed along the meridional line. In addition, under transmission electron microscope, the exine in the Taihangia and related genera Acomastylis, Geum, Coluria, Waldsteinia and Dryas has been shown to be typically differentiated into two distinct layers, nexine and sexine. The nexine, weakly statined, appears to consist of endoxine with no foot-layer, in which the columellae are fused, and which is thicker beneath the apertures. The sexine is 2-layered, consisting of columellae and tectum. Three patterns of tectum can be distinguished in the tribe Dryadeae: the first, in the genera Taihangia, Acomastylis, Geum, Coluria and Waldsteinia, is tectate-imperforate, with the sculpturing elements both acute and obtuse at the top and broad at the base; the second, in the genus Dryas, is semitectate, with the sculpturing elements shown in ultrathin sections rod-like and broader at the top than at the base or as broad at the top as at the base, and the third, tectate-perforate, with the sculpturing elements different in size. From the above results, the herbaceous groups and woody ones have palynologically evolved in two distinct directions, and the genus Taihangia is related to other herbaceous genera such as Acomastylis, Geum, Coluria and Waldsteinia, as shown in the electron microphotographs of ultrathin sections. The genus Taihangia, however, is different from related herbaceous genera in that the pollen of Taihangia is dimorphic, i.e. in addition to the above pattern of pollen another one of the exine in Taihangia is rugulate, with the sculpturing elements shown in the ultrathin sections being obtuse or emarginate and nearly as broad at the top as at the base. The interesting results obtained from the comparative analysis of morphology, anatomy of carpels, chromosome countings, microscopic and submicrosocopic structures of pollen may enable us to evaluate the systematic position of Taihangia and to throw a new light on evolution of the tribe Dryadeae. It is well known that the modes of dissemination of rosaceous fruits play an important role in the expansion and evolution of the family. The follicle is the most primitive and the plants with follicles, like the Spiraeoideae, are mostly woody and mesic, while the achene, drupe and pyrenarium are derived. In Rosoideae having a achene is a common feature. Particularly in the tribe Dryadeae, which is distinguished from the other related tribes by having orthotropous ovules, the methods of dissemination of fruits have developed in three distinct specialized directions: anemochory with long, plumose styles (e.g. Dryas), formicochory or dispersed by ants or other insects, with the deciduous styles (e.g. Waldsteinia and Collria),and epizoochory with the upper deciduous stigmatic part and the lower persistent hooked rostrum, an adhesive organ favouring epizoochory dissemination (e. g. Geum and related taxa). Taihangia is a genus endemic to mesophytic forest area of northern China. Due to its narrow range and specific habit as well as pubescent styles, neither perfectly adapted to anemochory nor to epizoochory, the genus Taihangia might be a direct progeny of the ancestry of anemochory. Maintaining the diploidy and having an ntermediate sculptural type of pollen, the new genus might probably represent a linkage between anemochory and zoochory (including epizoochory and dispersed by ants). Experimental evidence from isoperoxidases shows the stable zymograms of root and roostoks. The anodal isozyme of T. rupestris var. rupestris may be divided into 6 bands: A, B, C, D, E, F, and T. rupestris var. ciliata into 4 bands: A, B, C, G. The two varietiesof the species share 3 bands: A, B, C. However, D, E and F bands are characteristic of var. rupestris and G band is limited to var. ciliata. As far as the available materials are concerned, the analysis of isoperoxidases supports the subdivision of the species into two varieties.