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Twenty species of Pontederiaceae and six species of the outgroup families Haemodoraceae and Philydraceae were investigated with regard to floral anatomy, using standard histological methods and graphic reconstructions. Variation is described in several features, including functional carpel number, the distribution of floral aerenchyma, the presence of unusual floral epithelial cells, the presence, type, and distribution of tannin cells, crystal type and distribution, aspects of placentation, ovule number, number of ovule rows per carpel, and septal nectary presence. In order to better assess character homology, one of these features, placentation, was divided into three discrete characters: septal fusion, placenta position, and placenta evagination. Several of the floral characters were optimized onto a most parsimonious cladogram from a relatively recent study using combined chloroplast DNA data. Associations of character states with specific clades were observed in functional carpel number, aerenchyma distribution, epithelial cell presence, tannin cell distribution, septal nectary presence, and the three redefined aspects of placentation: septal fusion, placenta position, and placenta evagination. These floral data will be valuable in further elucidating relationships in Pontederiaceae in future studies of the group.

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© 2006 Michael G. Simpson, Darren H. Burton

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