Tidskrift: PLoS ONE
Volym: 7

Abstrakt: (på engelska)

During angiosperm evolution, innovations in vegetative and reproductive organs have resulted in tremendous morphological diversity, which has played a crucial role in the ecological success of flowering plants. Morindeae (Rubiaceae) display considerable diversity in growth form, inflorescence architecture, flower size, and fruit type. Lianescent
habit, head inflorescence, small flower, and multiple fruit are the predominant states, but arborescent habit, non-headed inflorescence, large flower, and simple fruit states occur in various genera. This makes Morindeae an ideal model for exploring the evolutionary appearances and transitions between the states of these characters. We reconstructed ancestral states for these four traits using a Bayesian approach and combined nuclear/chloroplast data for 61 Morindeae species. The aim was to test three hypotheses: 1) self-supporting habit is generally ancestral in clades comprising both lianescent and arborescent species; 2) changes from lianescent to arborescent habit are uncommon due to ‘‘a high degree of specialization and developmental burden’’; 3) head inflorescences and multiple fruits in Morindeae evolved from non-headed inflorescences and simple fruits, respectively. Lianescent habit, head inflorescence, large flower, and multiple fruit are inferred for Morindeae, making arborescent habit, non-headed inflorescence, small flower, and simple fruit derived within the tribe. The rate of change from lianescent to arborescent habit is much higher than the reverse change. Therefore, evolutionary changes between lianescent and arborescent forms can be reversible, and their frequency and trends vary between groups. Moreover, these changes are partly attributed to a scarcity of host trees for climbing plants in more open habitats. Changes from large to small flowers might have been driven by shifts to pollinators with progressively shorter proboscis, which are associated with shifts in breeding systems towards dioecy. A single origin of dioecy from hermaphroditism is supported. Finally, we report evolutionary changes from headed to non-headed inflorescences and multiple to simple fruits