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Inflorescence Development in Two Annual Teosintes: Zea mays subsp. Mexicana and Z. mays subsp. Parviglumis

Marshall D. Sundberg and Alan R. Orr
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 77, No. 2 (Feb., 1990), pp. 141-152
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2444637
Page Count: 12
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Inflorescence Development in Two Annual Teosintes: Zea mays subsp. Mexicana and Z. mays subsp. Parviglumis
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Abstract

The ontogeny of tassels and ears in two annual Mexican teosintes, Zea mays subsp. mexicana and Z mays subsp. parviglumis, was examined using scanning electron microscopy and light microscopy. Ear development in these annual teosintes follows a pattern previously described as leading to the bisexual mixed inflorescence in Z diploperennis Common bud primordia are initiated in the axils of distichously arranged bracts along the ear axis. These common primordia bifurcate to form paired sessile and pedicellate spikelet primordia. Development of pedicellate spikelets is arrested leaving the sessile spikelets, along with the adjoining rachis segment, to form solitary grains enclosed within cupulate fruitcases. Development of the central tassel spike is similar to that previously described in the Z diploperennis tassel, except that the first formed axillary bud primordia form precocious tassel branches. The origin of these tassel branches suggests a possible mechanism for the transition from a distichous spike, characteristic of teosinte, to a polystichous spike, typical of maize.

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