Notes on the genus Amorphophallus (Araceae) - 13. Evolution of pollen ornamentation and ultrastructure in Amorphophallus and Pseudodracontium

R.C.H.J. van Ham, G. Grob, W.L.A. Hetterscheid, W. Star, B.J. Van Heuven

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A strict consensus tree based on chloroplast and nuclear sequences ( rbc L, mat K, trn L, FLint2 ) from 46 Amorphophallus species, two Pseudodracontium species and six outgroups is used to develop a hypothesis for the evolution of ornamentation and ectexine ultrastructure in the pollen of Amorphophallus . There are four main clades: an exclusively African, largely psilate clade (`African clade'), an Asian, largely psilate clade (`Asian psilate clade') and an Asian, largely striate clade consisting of a mainly continental SE Asian clade (`continental SE Asian striate clade') and one centred in Malesia (`Malesian striate clade'). Ultrastructure provides a valuable contribution towards understanding pollen ornamentation in Amorphophallus . Pollen with a thin psilate ectexine without dark granules might be plesiomorphic in Amorphophallus . Then the diverse striate type would be derived. Within both striate clades, reversals to the psilate type occur. Striate pollen with psilate caps, which is nested in the continental SE Asian striate clade, is a synapomorphy of Pseudodracontium . The fossulate type is also diverse, and its distribution in the tree indicates a polyphyletic origin. Areolate, echinate and verrucate ornamentation, occur in single species in the tree, but are found also in species not included in the molecular analysis. All three are heterogeneous and probably polyphyletic too. Reticulate, scabrate and striate/scabrate ornamentation are autapomorphies, of which the reticulate type and the striate/scabrate type may derive from psilate and striate ornamentation, respectively. Of the four main clades, the Asian psilate and African clade seem to be basal, while both striate clades might have evolved from the Asian psilate clade via a species like A. rhizomatosus . Dark granules evolved more than once, which might explain their diverse size, shape and distribution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-265
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005



  • intron
  • asia

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