Embryology and seed development of Blastocaulon scirpeum and Paepalanthus scleranthus (Eriocaulaceae)
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The embryology and seed structure of Blastocaulon scirpeum (Mart.) Giul. and Paepalanthus scleranthus Ruhland were studied in order to contribute to the embryology of Eriocaulaceae and supply data for future taxonomic studies. Both species present: anther with 4-layered wall; conspicuous endothecium with fibrous thickenings; secretory tapetum with uninucleate cells; successive microsporogenesis forming isobilateral microspore tetrads; bicellular pollen grains; orthotropous, bitegmic and tenuinucellate ovule; micropyle formed by the inner integument alone; megagametophyte of the Polygonum type, with a conspicuous antipodal cyst; nuclear and starchy endosperm; reduced, undifferentiated, and bell-shaped embryo; operculate and endotestal seed; seed coat derived from the two ovule integuments; and tanniniferous endotegmen. In addition, Blastocaulon scirpeum shows a bisporangiate anther and a 3-layered ovary wall, while P. scleranthus presents a tetrasporangiate anther that becomes bisporangiate at maturity, and a 2-layered ovary wall. This investigation shows that the bisporangiate condition does not suffice to separate Blastocaulon from Paepalanthus, since it is common to both. It also indicates, based on several embryological aspects, the proximity of Eriocaulaceae and Xyridaceae, which comply mainly with the features presented by the other commelinid families. These results may be used in future cladistic analysis of the family, and contribute to a better understanding of its phylogeny.