J Syst Evol ›› 1998, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (5): 428-435.

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Development of Ovules and Embryo sacs in Ostrya virginiana (Betulaceae) and Its Systematic Significance

XING Shu-Ping, CHEN Zhi-Duan, LU An-Ming   

  • Published:1998-09-10

Abstract: The development of ovules and embryo sacs in Ostrya virginiana was studied for the first time. Most ovaries had two ovules which were anatropous, unitegmic and crassinucellate. The ovule usually possessed several archesporial ceils which divided periclinally into the upper parietal cell and the lower sporogenous cell. The sporogenous cell functioned directly as megaspore mother cell. The tetrad of megaspores was linear in arrangement, and every megaspore might be functional. One ovule often contained 2- 6 embryo sacs and the embryo sac belongs to Polygonum type. It can be concluded from the present data that all ovules among the genera of the Betulaceae are unitegrnic. There are more groups with the phenomenon of multiple embryo sacs in anemophic plants such as Betulaceae, Casuarinaceae, Graminae, Jnglandaceae, Myricaceae, Simaroubaceae, Ulmaceae, than in entomophilous plants. Multiple embryo sacs also occur among some parasitic plants and saprophytes, e.g. Orobanchaceae, Cassytha in Lauraceae, Cuscuta in Convolvulaceae and Utricularia in Lentibulariaceae. It may be inferred that the characteristic of multiple embryo sacs be an evolutionary adaptation of those plants with lower pollination rate to increase the rate of fertilization. Finally, a comparison of embryological characters among the genera of the Betulaceae shows that the family is of a number of common embryological characters, such as multicellular archesporium, multiple embryo sacs in one ovule, and a long interval between pollination and fertilization. The diversity and systematic significance of several embryological characters among the “higher” hamamelid families are also discussed. It is still hard to explain the phy-logenetic relationships among those families clearly only with.

Key words: Ostrya virginiana, Ovule, Multicellular archesporium, Multiple embryo sacs