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Breeding System in Ficus carica, the Common Fig. I. Floral Diversity

N. G. Beck and E. M. Lord
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 75, No. 12 (Dec., 1988), pp. 1904-1912
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2444745
Page Count: 9
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Breeding System in Ficus carica, the Common Fig. I. Floral Diversity
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Abstract

Coevolution in Ficus carica (Moraceae) and the fig wasp (Blastophaga psenes, Agaonidae, Chalcidoidea) has resulted in a complex breeding system involving two tree morphs (Caprifig and Edible fig), three floral forms (long-styled female, short-styled female, and male flowers) and the insect pollinator. The two female floral forms have been reported to differ only in style length and stigma shape. In the present study, we demonstrate that the two female flowers differ from inception - short-styled flower primordia are smaller and exhibit significantly greater individual variation than do those of the long-styled flower, and the relative growth rate of each flower type differs. Mature forms exhibit disparity in style length, in stigma characteristics, and in degree of fusion of stylar lobes. Female flowers of both tree morphs are unisexual from inception. Male flowers of the Caprifig tree morph are initiated as hermaphrodites and gynoecium abortion occurs before megaspore mother cell stage. A single inflorescence therefore expresses two pathways to unisexuality. Hermaphrodite flower primordia were repeatedly found in the supposedly unisexual female syconium of the Edible fig tree morph. Based on its developmental morphology, Ficus carica appears to be of gynomonoecious ancestry.

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