Tagged: proteaceae

Grevillea rosmarinifolia

Bilateral flower symmetry developmental genetics in Proteaceae

Bilateral symmetry has evolved as an adaptive trait linked to efficient pollination and successful outcrossing, occurring over 170 times in angiosperms and in many plant groups relying upon the asymmetric expression of key transcription factors from the CYC/TB1 gene family. Citerne et al. characterise the evolution of flower symmetry in Proteaceae, a basal eudicot lineage with high diversity in floral morphology, finding that bilateral symmetry is a very labile trait in Proteaceae. The asymmetric expression of CYC/TB1 homologues implicated in the development of bilaterally symmetrical flowers suggests that these genes may have been recruited and harnessed for the control of...

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Seed source sites of Protea repens

Aridity-related stomatal differences in a South African shrub

Plants in arid environments often have predictably different phenotypes than those in moist environments. Within species, such trait–environment associations could indicate local adaptation, yet supporting evidence is rare. A new study looks at Protea repens a shrub found in the Cape Floristic Region. Carlson et al. show both broad-scale stomatal variation and its evolutionary mechanism by combining data from a common garden with that from two wild populations. In the garden, stomatal density was higher in plants sourced from hotter, drier sites. In the wild, plants with denser stomata had higher fecundity, cooler leaves, and increased photosynthesis, but only in...

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Image: Wikimedia Commons.


Picking up on my elemental theme, fire has long been considered a major influence on evolution of the angiosperms, whether natural or anthropogenic conflagrations. This incendiary interaction has not been helped by plants themselves, which not only generate highly calorific and combustible dry matter but also provide the oxygen needed to permit their combustion. The dramatic effect of fire on vegetation was graphically demonstrated in the Australian wildfires in January. Although fire has been an abiotic factor for hundreds of millions of years, the origins of so-called ‘fire prone’ floras have hitherto been considered to be comparatively recent phenomena. However,...

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Leucospermum flowers in the family Proteaceae on the cover of Annals of Botany

Proteaceae, Banksia, Macadamia nuts and the Annals of Botany Cover

Our videoblog discusses plants in the family Proteaceae, a well-known Southern hemisphere family with many beautiful and well-known representatives in Africa and Australia. The striking red flowers of the genus Leucospermum, from South Africa feature on the cover of the Annals of Botany for this year. Banksia is a well-known Australian genus, the bottle brush flowers, with attractive flowers and remarkable cone-like fruits. Protea, the type genus for the family, is from South Africa; the name of both genus and family is apposite, being named after the Greek God Proteus who was very variable in his form. Interestingly, there are...

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