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Keywords:

  • basal angiosperms;
  • integument;
  • orthotropous;
  • ovule

The developmental morphology of the outer integument in the pendent orthotropous ovules of Amborella trichopoda (Amborellaceae) and Chloranthus serratus (Chloranthaceae) was studied. In both species the outer integument is semiannular at an early stage and becomes cup-shaped but dorsiventrally somewhat asymmetric at later stages. The outer integument, which is initiated first on the concave and lateral sides of the ovule, differs from that of the anatropous ovules of other basal families with the outer integument semiannular at an early stage or throughout development. The bilateral symmetry of the outer integument is shared by these orthotropous and anatropous ovules. The developmental pattern of the outer integument and ovule incurving characterize the ovule of the Amborellaceae and Chloranthaceae, which is not equivalent to typical orthotropous ovules of eudicots. A phylogenetic analysis of ovule characters in basal angiosperms suggests that anatropous ovules with cup-shaped outer integuments and orthotropous ovules were derived independently in several clades and that the ovules of Amborella and Chloranthus might also be derivative.