J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 1980, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (4): -.

• Research Articles •    

Studies of Pollen Morphology and Its Systematic Position in the Order Piperales

Xi Yi-zhen   

Abstract: The pollen morphology of 25 species and 10 genera of Piperales (Chloranthaceae, Piperaceae and Saururaceae) has been examined under light microscope, of which 7 species were observed under scanning electron microscope and 1 species, Hedyosmum orentale Merr. & Chun transmision electron microseope. Three principal types of pollen were found: anasulcate (mostly) (sometime trichotomosulcate), inaperturate (partly) and multicolpoidate (partly). The present article has discussed the palynological data mainly in relation to the classification and the systematic position of Cbloranthaceae and also deals with the systematic position of the order Piperales. The present author agrees to put the family Chloranthaceae into the order Piperales. Because this family differs from Piperaceae and Saururaceae in pollen morphology, therefore, Chloranthaceae should raise to the level of suborder. Among three families of the order Piperales, the present author considers Chloranthaceae to be the most primitive family, on account of the following reasons: 1. The family Chloranthaceae shows the characteristics of primitive entomophilous plants in the sculpture of exine, while in the other two families, Piperaceae and Saururaceae, their exine is almost smooth and represents wind-pollenated plants; 2. Pollen of the family Chloranthaceae are larger than those of Piperaceae and Saururaceae; 3. The fossil pollen Clavatipollenites has been proved to be one of the most primitive angiosperms on the earth, that it is known, it occurred in the early Cretaceous, and at that time ferns and gymnosperms were predominant, while the Chloran- thaceae has already existed at that time; 4. Sarcandra of Chloranthaceae possesses the characters of a vesselless secondary xylem and a delayed development of embryo. Thus, Chloranthaceae would be considered as the most primitive family in the order Piperales. The systematic position of the order Piperales is also discussed. Itutehinson makes a point that order Ranales is more primitive than Piperales, and his system is arranged in the following order: Ranales → Piperales → to climax family Chloranthaceae. This view-point, however, is net supported by the palynological data. Pollen morphology shows that Piperales is more primitive than Ranales, because the pollen in Piperales possess the ancient aperture type of Pteridospermes, i.e., the type of anasulcate aperture is prevailing in Piperales, moreover, pollen grains of Ranales are mainly tricolpate type, and tricolpate pollen is a characteristic of typical angiosperms. In addition, the Piperales possesses a series of characters that are common among monocots, but rare among dicots. As the divergence between dicer and monocot took place in the early Cretaceous, their ancestor possesses common chararcters both of dicots and monocots while the extant Piperales still possess many characters of monocots that indicate it is much nearer to the point of divergence, and it explains that the Piperales is closely related to the ancestor of monocots and dicers Piperales, therefore, is more primitive than Ranales.

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