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  • Hieracium
    in ,

    Sexuality and apomixis in Hieracium are tightly associated with ploidy

    Asexual reproduction via seeds (apomixis) is an important speciation mechanism in angiosperms, but its frequency is largely unknown. Mráz and Zdvořák used flow cytometric seed screening to unravel reproductive pathways in more than 50 Hieracium s.str. taxa (Asteraceae) sampled across Europe. They found that diploid taxa produced their seeds solely after double fertilization, i.e. sexually, […] More

  • Aster amellus
    in ,

    Unmasking cryptic biodiversity in polyploids

    Up to one-quarter of flowering plant species may have escaped recognition due to processes such as autopolyploidy-whole genome duplication events where polyploids may be morphologically identical to their diploid progenitors. Mairal et al. combine macroevolutionary, microevolutionary and niche modelling tools to disentangle the origin and demographic history of the polyploid complex of Aster amellus (Asteraceae). […] More

  • in

    The cosmopolitan Compositae (or Sunflowers at large…)

    Sunflowers by Stephen Harris 2018. Reaktion Books Ltd. Stephen Harris’ Sunflowers isn’t about sunflowers. OK, correction, it is, but it’s not just about sunflowers. Rather, the book celebrates the sunflower family, the Asteraceae (or what those of a certain botanical background know more affectionately as the Compositae). And, why not? With approx. 32,000* species it’s […] More

  • Plant species and habitats surveyed in the Sacred Valley

    Specialisation and modularity of plant-pollinator networks

    Modularity is the tendency of certain species to consistently interact with each other. It is a ubiquitous and important property of ecological networks that can determine the level of specialisation of species within those networks. Watts et al. investigate modularity and specialisation of plant-pollinator communities in the Peruvian Andes, a biodiverse region where no work […] More

  • Ranunculus japonicus

    Robustness of floral organ numbers

    Despite the contribution of phenotypic variation in floral morphologies to speciation, species diversity has been recognized by modal morphologies where variation is averaged out. Here Kitazawa and Fujimoto show a relationship between the species-representative phenotype and phenotypic variation, by analysing quantitatively intraspecific variation of the organ numbers within flowers of Ranunculaceae and the numbers of […] More

  • Inflorescence of a member of Calyceraceae showing an ant crawling among the florets.

    Origin of the bifurcating style in Asteraceae

    One of the most remarkable reproductive structures of the members of the plant family Asteraceae is the style. Katinas et al. examine the morphology and distribution of lipophilic compounds of the styles in the early branching lineages of Asteraceae and its sister families Goodeniaceae and Calyceraceae. Their results are put in a phylogenetic framework to […] More

  • Saussurea nigrescens

    Global warming may reduce plant nectar yield

    Although flower nectar yield is well known to be temperature dependent, the effects of climate change on the availability of nectar to pollinators have rarely been studied. Asymmetric warming is one of the distinguishing features of global climate change, in which winter and night-time temperatures are predicted to increase more than summer and diurnal temperatures. […] More

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