Recent Topics Posters
Liao, Irene , Faden, Robert B. .
Hybrid or Species: Unraveling the Taxonomic Status of Murdannia discreta (Commelinaceae), a Rare Plant from Thailand.
Murdannia (Commelinaceae) is a pantropical monocot genus that is comprised of nearly 50 species. Morphologically, the genus is characterized by leaves that are arranged in a spiral, a sessile lamina, and a supervolute unfolding pattern (Faden, 1998). Its most distinctive feature is the presence of 3 fertile stamens attached in front of the sepals alternating with 3 sterile stamens (staminodes) attached in front of the petals. Anatomically, Murdannia shows much variation, but some of the similarities include the presence of a nearly continuous hypodermis, patterned cuticle, and marginal sclerenchyma (Faden & Inman, 1996). Murdannia discreta, a rare plant that is nearly endemic to Thailand, resembles two widespread Asian species, M. edulis and M. japonica based on a comparison of ten morphological characters (Thitimetharoch et al., unpublished). This research aims to determine whether M. discreta is a distinct rare species or a possible hybrid between M. edulis and M. japonica. Using a mixture of traditional and modern techniques, plants from six populations of the three taxa (3 M. edulis, 1 M. discreta, 2 M. japonica) were compared in leaf anatomy, morphology, chromosomes, and flowering times. Thin leaf cross sections and scanning electron microscope (SEM) images do not reveal important differences between the plants while preliminary chromosome counts suggest a close relationship of all three taxa. Overlapping flowering times of the plants in the afternoon confirms the feasibility for hybridization to occur between M. edulis and M. japonica. Although the information collected from these observations are valuable, DNA sequences will ultimately be included in the study, further clarifying the relationships among these three taxa.
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1 - University of California, Berkeley, Plant and Microbial Biology, 111 Koshland Hall, Berkeley, CA, 94720-3102, USA
2 - Smithsonian Institution, Department of Botany MRC 166, National Museum Of Natural History, Po Box 37012, Washington, DC, 20560-0166, USA
Presentation Type: Recent Topics Poster
Location: Ball Room & Party Room/SUB
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2008
Time: 12:30 PM