Plant systematics and evolution vol:231 issue:1-4 pages:225-258
date:Katholieke Univ Leuven, Inst Bot & Microbiol, Lab Syst, Louvain, Belgium; Univ Cape Town, Rondebosch, South Africa
The South African Restionaceae make up a highly diverse group of genera displaying several reductive trends in the configuration of the flower, especially in the gynoecium. In this paper the floral ontogeny of fourteen species representing nine of the 11 genera of the Restio clade is studied with the SEM. Although flowers are basically simple, the variability in both mature and developmental stages is striking. Differences between species are the result of changes in growth rate, coupled with differential pressures of organs. Trends in the elaboration of bracts, perianth, androecium and gynoecium are compared. Together with data that have been presented elsewhere about the other clade of African Restionaceae, viz. the Willdenowia-clade, a scheme with potential developmental pathways is proposed and the most evident routes are selected based on ontogenetic evidence. Nine possible reductions are presented arising through three main routes.