The morphology and anatomy ofHydrastis (Ranunculales): Systematic reevaluation of the genus

Research paper by Hiroshi Tobe, Richard C. Keating

Indexed on: 01 Sep '85Published on: 01 Sep '85Published in: Journal of Plant Research


Evidence from morphology and anatomy (including embryology), as well as from palynology, chemistry and cytology, indicates thatHydrastis is quite divergent from Ranunculaceae (in which the genus has been most often included) as well as from both Glaucidiaceae and Berberidaceae. Distinctive features ofHydrastis, which demarcate it from Ranunculaceae but which are sometimes shared by Berberidaceae, are: the unique mode of origin of the vascular supply to stamens and carpels; the micropyle being formed by both integuments; the xylem not V-shaped in cross section; scalariform vessel perforations present; haploid chromosome number 13; pollen tectum consisting of a compound layer of striae; leaf mesophyll not differentiated; the unique course of stem medullary bundles; D-galactose present. Its distinctive higher haploid chromosome number, as well as its many less-specialized character states (in floral structure, leaf anatomy, and xylem and vessel morphology), suggest thatHydrastis is a relictual primitive group which diverged early from a common ancestral stock of Ranunculaceae, Berberidaceae and probably of Circaeasteraceae; at least some of the features shared byHydrastis and one or another of the families concerned seem to be a heritage from their common ancestor. We propose a reestablishment of a monotypic family, Hydrastidaceae.