• anatomy;
  • monocots;
  • petals;
  • sepals;
  • staminode

Floral morphology, anatomy and development are examined in Xyris grandis (Xyridaceae: Poales), with an emphasis on petal and sepal organogenesis and vasculature. Xyris is one of relatively few monocots in which the perianth is differentiated into two distinct whorls (here termed a double perianth). Xyris also possesses highly unusual perianth vasculature, with each petal being supplied by three veins and each sepal by a single vein, compared with the opposite condition in most other angiosperms with a double perianth. However, perianth development in X. grandis shows a pattern that is typical for monocots, with petals not markedly delayed in development. Xyris grandis is also remarkable for its petal aestivation, with each petal surrounding a stamen and two branches of adjacent staminodes, a type that is not reported for other Xyridaceae and may contribute to secondary pollen presentation. The results are discussed in the context of the diversity of a double perianth in monocots, compared with eudicots. Based on current data, our preferred hypothesis is that meristic differences are at least partly responsible for the apparently widespread occurrence of three-traced petals in monocots. © 2012 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2012, 170, 93–111.