The floral development of Popowia whitei (Annonaceae)



A study of the floral ontogeny of Popowia was carried out to investigate the phyllotactic arrangement of the floral organs and occurring trends in the androecium of Annonaceae. The flower buds arise on a common stalk in the axil of a bract. Three sepals emerge in quick succession and are rapidly overrun in size by two whorls of petals. The androecium is initiated centripetally in successive whorls. A first whorl of three pairs of outer staminodes emerges opposite the outer petals and is followed by nine staminodes. Next a whorl of nine fertile stamens arises in alternation with the second whorl of staminodes. The carpels arise in three alternating whorls of nine. The nature of the perianth parts is morphologically identical. The process of cyclisation of the androecium from a spiral is discussed for Annonaceae and Magnoliidae in general. The inception of the three outer stamen pairs is a widespread reductive step for multistaminate androecia in the process of oligomerization. It is proposed to define the cyclic inception of numerous stamens as whorled polyandry, being an intermediate step between true polyandry and a reduced stamen number in whorls. The absence of a cup-like shape in the carpel development is related to the flattened receptacle.