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Arachis hypogaea. Aerial Flower and Subterranean Fruit

Ben W. Smith
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 37, No. 10 (Dec., 1950), pp. 802-815
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2437758
Page Count: 14
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Arachis hypogaea. Aerial Flower and Subterranean Fruit
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Abstract

The long botanical history of Arachis hypogaea has been filled with error and controversy regarding the reproductive structures of this plant. The errors have continued to appear in recent botanical literature. The two kinds of floral dimorphism which have been described for Arachis do not exist. The flower exhibits an extreme type of perigyny with the stalk-like, tubular hypanthium attaining a length of two inches. All of the flower are alike in structure, papilionaceous, and potentially fertile. The flower is sessile. Consequently the "flower stalk" or "pedicel" cannot elongate! The androecium consists of eight anther-bearing stamens and two sterile filaments. The stamens are monadelphous, not diadelphous. The four elongate anthers are adnate, introrse, not basifixed as repeatedly described. The gynoecium consists of a monocarpellate, sessile ovary, and a much elongated, filiform style with a minute, club-shaped stigma. The ovary develops into a stalk-like structure called the peg, which bears the ovules in its tip, grows geotropically, and penetrates the soil. The peg grows by elongation of the ovary base and, in some forms, from elongation of the constricted ovary between the seed-bearing segments of the pod. The peg tip enlarges to form the underground pod, which is a potentially dehiscent but functionally indehiscent legume. Pod development usually occurs underground.

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