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Keywords:

  • basal angiosperms;
  • carpels;
  • early flower evolution;
  • Magnoliidae;
  • ovules;
  • structure and evolution

Carpel and ovule structure was compared in representatives of all 11 families of the Magnoliales (Annonaceae, Canellaceae, Degeneriaceae, Eupomatiaccae, Himantandraceae, Magnoliaceae, Myristicaceae) and winteroids (Austrobaileyaceae, Illiciaceae, Sehisandraceae, Winteraceae). Special attention was paid to features that are constant at family level. Bisexual flowers are always protogynous. In all representatives studied the carpels are closed at anthesis. Caipel closure is attained in three different ways: (1) postgenital fusion of inner surfaces (Degeneriaceae, Eupomatiaccae. Winteraceae), or (2) occlusion by secretion (Austrobaileyaceae, Sehisandraceae), or (3) a combination of (1) and (2): in Annonaceae, Canellaceae, Myristicaceae there is a conspicuous secretory canal in the innermost part of the ventral slit; in Illiciaceae and Magnoliaceae there is a narrow canal in the innermost part of the ventral slit; and in Himantandraceae the ventral slit is postgenilally fused in the style but completely open in the ovary. In most families the carpels have a double stigmalic crest or they have two tips in the transversal symmetry plane (i.e. at right angles to the median plane). Stigmas are unicellular papillate in most families but the papillae are bi-to multicellular (uniseriate) in Degeneriaceae and Eupomatiaceae. An unusual cryptic exlracarpellary compitum was found in Himantandraceae and Sehisandraceae. Intrusive oil cells were found in the carpel epidermis of Illiciaceae and Sehisandraceae. Mature ovules vary in length between 0.15 and 1.1 mm. The outer integument is fully annular (not semiannular) in Degeneriaceae, Himantandraceae, Canellaceae, Myristicaceae, and Illiciaceae. A rudimentary aril occurs in Canellaceae, and originates at the same site as in arillate Annonaceae and Myristicaceae. The results most strongly support an Annonaceae-Myristicaceae-Canellaceae alliance, to some degree also an Eupomatiaccac-Degeneriaceae-Himantandraceae-Magnoliaceae alliance, and an Illiciaceae-Schisandraceae-Winteraccae-Austrobaileyaceae alliance.