Phyllotaxic diversity in Magnolia flowers

Beata Zagórska-Marek


Impermanent initials and thus the shift of the axis in the stochastic meristems are postulated to be responsible for ontogenetic phyllotactic diversity in plants. In the gynoecium of Magnolia acuminata the main Fibonacci pattern develops in much less than 50% of individual generative shoots. There is also an extremely wide spectrum of other patterns, among them even the rarest I, 3, 8, 11 ... pattern is present. Regarded sometimes as "impossible", the pattern has been documented in SEM for the first time. Beside the presence of various patterns, frequent ontogenetic transformations of phyllotaxis have been found in Magnolia. These are indicated by dislocations in the periodic distribution of carpel primordia. In other magnolias, exemplified by M. soulangeana, the Fibonacci pattern prevails, but not as much as in coniferous vegetative shoots, where, as demonstrated earlier, it reaches 95%. Other pattern numbers are also different. This suggests the involvement of the genetic factor and may be attributed to the higher frequency of discontinuous phyllotactic transformations in some species. The stochastic character of the meristem is perhaps more pronounced in some plants, which leads in turn to more frequent transitions and greater pattern diversity.


Magnolia; phyllotaxis; crystal lattice; apical meristem; dislocations; plant morphogenesis

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