Original Research

Ovule-to-seed development in Dovyalis caffra (Salicaceae: Flacourtieae) with notes on the taxonomic significance of the extranucellar embryo sac

E. M. A. Steyn, A. E. van Wyk, G. F. Smith
Bothalia | Vol 35, No 1 | a384 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v35i1.384 | © 2005 E. M. A. Steyn, A. E. van Wyk, G. F. Smith | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 August 2005 | Published: 29 August 2005

About the author(s)

E. M. A. Steyn, South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), South Africa
A. E. van Wyk, H.G.W.J. Schweickerdt Herbarium, Department of Botany, South Africa
G. F. Smith, H.G.W.J. Schweickerdt Herbarium, Department of Botany, South Africa

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Dovyalis caffra (Hook.f. & Harv.) Hook.f. is a widespread and horticulturally important southern African endemic. Here described, ovule-to-seed development represents the first embryological information on this genus of the tribe Flacourtieae, Salicaceae  sensu lato. Results are discussed in the light of data available on the embryology of the order Malpighiales in general and on the tribe Flacourtieae in particular. It is clear that Dovyalis E.Mey. ex Am. shares many characters with other members of the Flacourtieae. Ovules of D. caffra are anatropous. bitegmic and crassinucellate with both bisporic Allium- and monosporic Polygonum-type embryo sacs. One of the most characteristic embryological features of the tribe is the pres­ence of an unusual, extranucellar embryo sac that stretches halfway up into the micropyle. Since this extraordinary-shaped embryo sac also defines the embryo sacs of Salix L. and Populus L., it is suggested that the character provides strong sup­port for the proposed close phylogenetic link between tribes Flacourtieae and Saliceae of Salicaceae sensu lato.


<i>Dovyalis caffra</i> (Hook.f. & Harv.) Hook.f.; embryology; Flacourtiaceae; Flacourtieae; Salicaceae; Salix L.; seed coat; taxonomy


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