The architecture of Mourera fluviatilis (Podostemaceae): developmental morphology of inflorescences, flowers, and seedlings

Am J Bot. 1999 Jul;86(7):907-22.


Mourera fluviatilis from northern South America is a spectacular member of the Podostemaceae (river-weeds). Its raceme-like inflorescences are up to 64 cm long and have 40-90 flowers arranged in two opposite rows. Inflorescence development starts with the initiation of a double-sheathed (dithecous) bract in a terminal position. All lateral bracts (again dithecous) are initiated in basipetal order along the two flanks of the inflorescence. Each gap between two neighboring bracts contains a single flower. The flowers are bisexual, each with a whorl of 16-20 ligulate tepals and 14-40 stamens, which are arranged in one or two whorls. Floral development starts with the formation of a girdling primordium rim around a two-lobed primordial gynoecium. Stamen and tepal initiation is centrifugal on the girdling primordium. The anthers are introrse or extrorse, depending on stamen position. Seedlings develop two entire, threadlike cotyledons, followed by forked filamentous leaves, which arise from the plumular pole. The radicular pole of the hypocotyl develops into a claw-shaped holdfast that fixes the young plant to the rock. The developmental morphologies of Mourera fluviatilis and other members of the Mourera group (including Lonchostephus and Tulasneantha) fit well with the Podostemoideae bauplan known from other New World genera, such as Apinagia and Marathrum.