Diversity, distribution, development, and evolution of medullary bundles in Nyctaginaceae
Premise: Medullary bundles, i.e., vascular units in the pith, have evolved multiple times in vascular plants. However, no study has ever explored their anatomical diversity and evolution within a phylogenetic framework. Here, we investigated the development of the primary vascular system within Nyctaginaceae showing how medullary bundles diversified within the family.
Methods: Development of 62 species from 25 of the 31 genera of Nyctaginaceae in stem samples was thoroughly studied with light microscopy and micro-computed tomography. Ancestral states were reconstructed using a maximum likelihood approach.
Results: Two subtypes of eusteles were found, the regular eustele, lacking medullary bundles, observed exclusively in representatives of Leucastereae, and the polycyclic eustele, containing medullary bundles, found in all the remaining taxa. Medullary bundles had the same origin and development, but the organization was variable and independent of phyllotaxy. Within the polycyclic eustele, medullary bundles developed first, followed by the formation of a continuous concentric procambium, which forms a ring of vascular bundles enclosing the initially formed medullary bundles. The regular eustele emerged as a synapomorphy of Leucastereae, while the medullary bundles were shown to be a symplesiomorphy for Nyctaginaceae.<.p>
Conclusions: Medullary bundles in Nyctaginaceae developed by a single shared pathway, that involved the departure of vascular traces from lateral organs toward the pith. These medullary bundles were encircled by a continuous concentric procambium that also constituted the polycyclic eustele, which was likely a symplesiomorphy for Nyctaginaceae with one single reversion to the regular eustele.
da Cunha Neto, Israel, Marcelo R. Pace, Norman A. Douglas, et al. 2020. “Diversity, distribution, development, and evolution of medullary bundles in Nyctaginaceae.” American Journal of Botany 107(5): 707–725.
American Journal of Botany