Models of floral pattern in detached flowers of Silene coeli-rosa Godr. (Caryophyllaceae)

Iain S. Donnison, D. Francis

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Organ number per whorl was analysed in aberrant flowers of the long-day (LD) plant, Silene coeli-rosa, to test a hypothesis that organ number in a whorl takes its cue from an adjacent outer whorl and that perturbed organ number per whorl is not random but defaults to that of closely related taxa or genera of the Caryophyllaceae. When plants were grown under short-days (SD), transferred to LD and the shoot meristem excised and cultured in vitro under SD, the normal pattern of flower development was often disrupted. For example, we observed flowers which comprised floral whorls with an aberrant number of floral organs. In part, this was an effect of tissue culture; however, the over-and-above effect was the establishment of an alternative pattern of development. Our data indicate that two distinct and recurrent patterns occurred in the aberrant flowers we observed in five separate experiments. First, pairs of floral whorls were linked so that aberration in one whorl resulted in the next whorl being more aberrant than normal. Second, the number of organs in aberrant whorls was not random, but defaulted to an organ number which mimicked the flowers of closely related species of Silene or related genera in the Caryophyllaceae.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-235
Number of pages7
JournalBotanical Journal of the Linnean Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2002


  • floral aberrancy
  • floral organ number
  • flower development


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