Developmental anatomy and morphology of the ovule and seed of Heliconia (Heliconiaceae, Zingiberales)
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The developmental anatomy and morphology of the ovule and seed in several species of Heliconia were investigated as part of an embryological study of the Heliconiaceae and to provide a better understanding of their relationships with the other families of the Zingiberales. Heliconia species have an ovule primordium with an outer integument of both dermal and subdermal origin. The archesporial cell is divided into a megasporocyte and a single parietal cell, which in turn are divided only anticlinally to form a single parietal layer, disintegrating later during gametogenesis. The embryo sac was fully developed prior to anthesis. In the developing seed, the endosperm was nuclear, with wall formation in the globular stage; a nucellar pad was observed during embryo development, but later became compressed. The ripe fruit contained seeds enveloped by a lignified endocarp that formed the pyrenes, with each pyrene having an operculum at the basal end; the embryo was considered to be differentiated. Most of these characteristics are shared with other Zingiberales, although the derivation of the operculum from the funicle and the formation of the main mechanical layer by the endocarp are unique to the Heliconiaceae.