Tropical Biology Section
Kritzer Van Zant, Miriam , Ugent, Donald , Lightfoot, David A. .
Morphological parameters of the genus Mirabilis L. (Nyctaginaceae).
Mirabilis is a likely polyploid, possibly aneuploid, and often opens and closes buds, changing the likelihood of selfing. Mirabilis has been in the center of one of the largest of several webs of interlaced genera and species names in the family Nyctaginaceae. Nycs exhibit unusual growth patterns, within taxa, and on individuals. Small flowered Mirabilis have been confused with Allionia, Boerhaavia, Commicarpus and a proliferation of legitimate and illegitimate names. All treatments of the family since 1934 claim to follow Antoine Heimerl, but often disagree on parameters for taxa. Heimerl’s (1934) characters and states, from keys and descriptions, were compared and contradictions found. Details for any one taxa are scattered through descriptions of closely related genera, and pose unusual challenges for translation. Development patterns of fruits and flowers emerged during measurement of hundreds of herbarium specimens, and two living varieties of the crop. Qualitative characters were more useful than quantitative, to distinguish taxa. There appears to be random reactivation of meristems, causing flowers to often add tissue after pollen has matured, creating flowers unequal in length and relative width on individuals. Bracts randomly enlarge after fruits develop. A minority of flowers add additional tissue after anthesis. Structures mimic other structures during development. Many types are now only photographs. Mirabilis exemplifies the continued need for classical morphology to solve some problems in taxonomy and systematics. Opposite leaves, distinct upper and lower perianths, a globose and papillate stigma, hemi-spherical to spherical theca, and a partially fused five-part bract, which equals or exceeds the perianth base, characterize Mirabilis.
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1 - Southern Illinois University, Plant Biology, Mail Code 6509, Carbondale, Illinois, 62901-6509, United States
2 - Southern Illinois University, Plant Biology, Mail Code 6509, Carbondale, Illinois, 62901-6509, USA
3 - SIUC, Plant Soil and Agricultural Systems, Genomics and Biotechnology Facility, MC4415, Carbondale, Illinois, 62901, USA
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Location: Exhibit Hall (Northeast, Southwest & Southeast)/Hilton
Date: Sunday, July 8th, 2007
Time: 8:00 AM