EMBRYOPSIDA Pirani & Prado (crown group)

Gametophyte dominant, independent, multicellular, thalloid, with single-celled apical meristem, showing gravitropism; flavonoids + [absorbtion of UV radiation]; protoplasm dessication tolerant [plant poikilohydric]; cuticle +; cell walls with (1->4)-ß-D-glucans [xyloglucans], lignin +; rhizoids unicellular; several chloroplasts per cell; glycolate metabolism in leaf peroxisomes [glyoxysomes]; centrioles in vegetative cells 0, metaphase spindle anastral, predictive preprophase band of microtubules, phragmoplast + [cell wall deposition spreading from around the spindle fibres], plasmodesmata +; antheridia and archegonia jacketed, stalked; spermatogenous cells monoplastidic, centrioles develop de novo, associated with basal bodies of flagellae, multilayered structure +, proximal end of basal bodies lacking symmetry, stellate pattern associated with doublet tubules of transition zone; spermatozoids with a left-handed coil; male gametes with 2 lateral flagellae; oogamy; diploid embryo initially surrounded by haploid gametophytic tissue, plane of first division horizontal [with respect to long axis of archegonium/embryo sac], suspensor/foot +, cell walls with nacreous thickenings; sporophyte multicellular, sporangium +, single, with polar transport of auxin, dehiscence longitudinal; meiosis sporic, monoplastidic, microtubule organizing centre associated with plastid, cytokinesis simultaneous, preceding nuclear division, sporocytes 4-lobed, with a quadripolar microtubule system; spores in tetrads, sporopollenin in the spore wall, wall with several trilamellar layers [white-line centred layers, i.e. walls multilamellate]; spores trilete [?level]; close association between the trnLUAA and trnFGAA genes on the chloroplast genome.

Note that many of the bolded characters in the characterization above are apomorphies in the streptophyte clade along the lineage leading to the embryophytes rather than being apomorphies of the embryophytes.


Abscisic acid, ?D-methionine +; sporangium with seta, seta developing from basal meristem [between epibasal and hypobasal cells], sporangial columella + [developing from endothecial cells]; stomata +, anomocytic, cell lineage that produces them with symmetric divisions [perigenous]; underlying similarities in the development of conducting tissue and in rhizoids/root hairs; polar transport of auxins and class 1 KNOX genes expressed in the sporangium alone; MIKC, MI*K*C* and class 1 and 2 KNOX genes, post-transcriptional editing of chloroplast genes; gain of three group II mitochondrial introns.

[Hornworts + Polysporangiophyta]: archegonia embedded/sunken in the gametophyte; sporophyte long-lived, chlorophyllous, nutritionally largely independent of the gametophyte; sporophyte-gametophyte junction interdigitate, sporophyte cells showing rhizoid-like behaviour; spores trilete.


Sporophyte well developed, branched, free living, sporangia several; spore walls not multilamellate [?here]; apical meristem +.


Photosynthetic red light response; water content of protoplasm relatively stable [plant homoiohydric]; control of leaf hydration passive; (condensed or nonhydrolyzable tannins/proanthocyanidins +); vascular tissue +, sieve cells + [nucleus degenerating], tracheids +, in both protoxylem and metaxylem; endodermis +; root xylem exarch [development centripetal]; stem with an apical cell; branching dichotomous; leaves spirally arranged, blades with mean venation density 1.8 mm/mm2 [to 5 mm/mm2]; sporangia adaxial on the sporophyll, sporangia derived from periclinal divisions of several epidermal cells, wall multilayered [eusporangium]; columella 0; stellate pattern split between doublet and triplet regions of transition zone; placenta with single layer of transfer cells in both sporophytic and gametophytic generations, embryo with roots arising lateral to the main axis [plant homorhizic].


Branching ± monopodial; lateral roots +, endogenous, root apex multicellular, root cap +; tracheids with scalariform-bordered pits; leaves with apical/marginal growth, venation development basipetal, growth determinate; sporangia borne in pairs and grouped in terminal trusses, dehiscence longitudinal, a single slit; cells polyplastidic, microtubule organizing centres not associated with plastids, diffuse, perinuclear; male gametes multiflagellate, basal bodies staggered, blepharoplasts paired; chloroplast long single copy ca 30kb inversion [from psbM to ycf2].


Plant woody; lateral root origin from the pericycle; shoot apical meristem multicellular; branching lateral, meristems axillary; cork cambium + [producing cork abaxially], vascular cambium bifacial [producing phloem abaxially and xylem adaxially].


Plant evergreen; nicotinic acid metabolised to trigonelline, (cyanogenesis via tyrosine pathway); primary cell walls rich in xyloglucans and/or glucomannans, 25-30% pectin [Type I walls]; lignins derived from (some) sinapyl and particularly coniferyl alcohols [hence with p-hydroxyphenyl and guaiacyl lignin units, so no Maüle reaction]; root with xylem and phloem originating on alternate radii, vascular tissue not medullated, cork cambium deep seated; arbuscular mycorrhizae +; shoot apical meristem interface specific plasmodesmatal network; stem with vascular cylinder around central pith [eustele], phloem abaxial [ectophloic], endodermis 0, xylem endarch [development centrifugal]; wood homoxylous, tracheids and rays alone, tracheid/tracheid pits circular, bordered; mature sieve tube/cell lacking functioning nucleus, sieve tube plastids with starch grains; phloem fibres +; stem cork cambium superficial; branches exogenous; leaves with single trace from vascular sympodium [nodes 1:1]; stomatal pore with active opening in response to leaf hydration, control by abscisic acid, metabolic regulation of water use efficiency, etc.; leaves with petiole and lamina, development basipetal, blade simple; axillary buds +, not associated with all leaves; prophylls two, lateral; plant heterosporous, sporangia borne on sporophylls; microsporophylls aggregated in indeterminate cones/strobili; true pollen +, grains mono[ana]sulcate, exine and intine homogeneous; ovules unitegmic, parietal tissue 2+ cells across, megaspore tetrad linear, functional megaspore single, chalazal, lacking sporopollenin, megasporangium indehiscent; pollen grains landing on ovule; male gametophyte development first endo- then exosporic, tube developing from distal end of grain, gametes two, developing after pollination, with cell walls; female gametophyte endosporic, initially syncytial, walls then surrounding individual nuclei; seeds "large" [ca 8 mm3], but not much bigger than ovule, with morphological dormancy; embryo cellular ab initio, endoscopic, plane of first cleavage of zygote transverse, suspensor +, short-minute, embryo axis straight, so shoot and root at opposite ends [plant allorhizic], white, cotyledons 2; plastid transmission maternal; ycf2 gene in inverted repeat, whole nuclear genome duplication [zeta duplication], two copies of LEAFY gene, PHY gene duplications [three - [BP [A/N + C/O]] - copies], nrDNA with 5.8S and 5S rDNA in separate clusters; mitochondrial nad1 intron 2 and coxIIi3 intron and trans-spliced introns present.


Lignans, O-methyl flavonols, dihydroflavonols, triterpenoid oleanane, apigenin and/or luteolin scattered, [cyanogenesis in ANITA grade?], S [syringyl] lignin units common [positive Maüle reaction - syringyl:guaiacyl ratio more than 2-2.5:1], and hemicelluloses as xyloglucans; root apical meristem intermediate-open; root vascular tissue oligarch [di- to pentarch], lateral roots arise opposite or immediately to the side of [when diarch] xylem poles; origin of epidermis with no clear pattern [probably from inner layer of root cap], trichoblasts [differentiated root hair-forming cells] 0, exodermis +; shoot apex with tunica-corpus construction, tunica 2-layered; reaction wood ?, associated gelatinous fibres [g-fibres] with innermost layer of secondary cell wall rich in cellulose and poor in lignin; starch grains simple; primary cell wall mostly with pectic polysaccharides, poor in mannans; tracheid:tracheid [end wall] plates with scalariform pitting, wood parenchyma +; sieve tubes enucleate, sieve plate with pores (0.1-)0.5-10< µm across, cytoplasm with P-proteins, cytoplasm not occluding pores of sieve plate, companion cell and sieve tube from same mother cell; sugar transport in phloem passive; nodes 1:?; stomata brachyparacytic [ends of subsidiary cells level with ends of pore], outer stomatal ledges producing vestibule, reduction in stomatal conductance to increasing CO2 concentration; lamina formed from the primordial leaf apex, margins toothed, development of venation acropetal, overall growth ± diffuse, venation hierarchical-reticulate, secondary veins pinnate, veins (1.7-)4.1(-5.7) mm/mm2, endings free; most/all leaves with axillary buds; flowers perfect, pedicellate, ± haplomorphic, parts spiral [esp. the A], free, numbers unstable, development in general centripetal; P +, members each with a single trace, outer members not sharply differentiated from the others, not enclosing the floral bud; A many, filament not sharply distinguished from anther, stout, broad, with a single trace, anther introrse, tetrasporangiate, sporangia in two groups of two [dithecal], ± embedded in the filament, with at least outer secondary parietal cells dividing, each theca dehiscing longitudinally, endothecium +, endothecial cells elongated at right angles to long axis of anther; tapetum glandular, cells binucleate; microspore mother cells in a block, microsporogenesis successive, walls developing by centripetal furrowing; pollen subspherical, tectum continuous or microperforate, ektexine columellate, endexine thin, compact, lamellate only in the apertural regions; nectary 0; carpels present, superior, free, several, ascidiate, with postgenital occlusion by secretion, stylulus short, hollow, cavity not lined by distinct epidermal layer, stigma ± decurrent, carinal, dry [not secretory]; ovules few [?1]/carpel, marginal, anatropous, bitegmic, micropyle endostomal, outer integument 2-3 cells across, often largely subdermal in origin, inner integument 2-3 cells across, often dermal in origin, parietal tissue 1-3 cells across [crassinucellate], nucellar cap?; megasporocyte single, hypodermal, functional megaspore lacking cuticle; female gametophyte four-celled [one module, nucleus of egg cell sister to one of the polar nuclei]; supra-stylar extra-gynoecial compitum +; ovule not increasing in size between pollination and fertilization; pollen grains landing on stigma, bicellular at dispersal, mature male gametophyte tricellular, germinating in less than 3 hours, pollination siphonogamous, tube elongated, growing between cells, growth rate 20-20,000 µm/hour, outer wall pectic, inner wall callose, with callose plugs, penetration of ovules via micropyle [porogamous], whole process takes ca 18 hours, distance to first ovule 1.1-2.1 mm; male gametes lacking cell walls, flagellae 0, double fertilization +, ovules aborting unless fertilized; P deciduous in fruit; seed exotestal, becoming much larger than ovule at time of fertilization; endosperm diploid, cellular [micropylar and chalazal domains develop differently, first division oblique, micropylar end initially with a single large cell, divisions uniseriate, chalazal cell smaller, divisions in several planes], copious, oily and/or proteinaceous; embryogenesis cellular; dark reversal Pfr -> Pr; Arabidopsis-type telomeres [(TTTAGGG)n]; 2C genome size 1-8.2 pg [1 pg = 109 base pairs], whole nuclear genome duplication [epsilon duplication]; protoplasm dessication tolerant [plant poikilohydric]; ndhB gene 21 codons enlarged at the 5' end, single copy of LEAFY and RPB2 gene, knox genes extensively duplicated [A1-A4], AP1/FUL gene, paleo AP3 and PI genes [paralogous B-class genes] +, with "DEAER" motif, SEP3/LOFSEP and three copies of the PHY gene, [PHYB [PHYA + PHYC]].

Evolution. Possible apomorphies for flowering plants are in bold. The actual level at which many of these features, particularly the more cryptic ones, should be assigned is unclear. This is because some taxa basal to the [magnoliid + monocot + eudicot] group have been surprisingly little studied, there is considerable homoplasy as well as variation within and between families of the ANITA grade in particular for several of these characters, and also because details of relationships among gymnosperms will affect the level at which some of these characters are pegged. For example, if reticulate-perforate pollen is optimized to the next node on the tree (see Friis et al. 2009b for a discussion), it effectively makes the pollen morphology of the common ancestor of all angiosperms ambiguous... Ther are other features such as a nucellus only one (Nymphaeales) to three cells thick above the embryo sac and a stylar canal lacking an epidermal layer that appear to be plesiomorphous for basal grade angiosperms (Williams 2009), however, where on the tree a thicker nucellus and a stylar epidermal layer are acquired has not been indicated.

[NYMPHAEALES [AUSTROBAILEYALES [[CHLORANTHALES + MAGNOLIIDS] [MONOCOTS [CERATOPHYLLALES + EUDICOTS]]]]]: wood fibres +; axial parenchyma diffuse or diffuse-in-aggregates; pollen monosulcate [anasulcate], tectum reticulate-perforate [here?]; ?genome duplication; "DEAER" motif in AP3 and PI genes lost, gaps in these genes. Back to Main Tree

Age. Wikström et al. (2001) estimated that this node was (179-)171, 153(-145) m.y. old, in line with other early estimates (Magallón 2009); Soltis et al. (2008: a variety of estimates) give an age of 180-132 m.y.. Magallón and Castillo (2009) offer an age of ca 229 m.y. for relaxed and 127 m.y. for constrained penalized likelihood datings, while Moore et al. (2010: 95% HPD) suggest an age of (162-)155(-145) m.y., Clarke et al. (2011: 95% credibility intervals) ages of (231-)197(-169) m.y., towards the upper end of the various suggestions, N. Zhang et al. (2012; see also Xue et al. 2012) ages of (211-)179(-158) m.y., and Magallón et al. (2013) an age of around 183.4 m.y..

A fossil-based estimate for the age of this node is ca 113 m.y. (Crepet et al. 2004).

Evolution. Divergence & Distribution. For discussion as to where characters of pollen morphology and development are to be placed on the tree, see Taylor and Osborn (2006) and also Friis et al. (2009b); it partly depends on how the characters are defined and partly on the recent discovery of fossil Nymphaeales that do not have the pollen characteristics of extant members of the clade. For vessel evolution in angiosperms, including that in Nymphaeales, see the Amorellales page.

Chemistry, Morphology, etc. Cabombaceae and Nymphaeaceae do have vessels of a sort (Carlquist & Schneider 2009; Schneider & Carlquist 2009).

For cell lineages in the embryo sac see Huang and Russel (1992) and Friedman (2006); identification of the pattern described above apparently goes back to Porsch (1907), although it has been observed for relatively few plants. For embryo sac evolution, see Friedman and Ryerson (2009). For the possibility of a genome duplication at about this position, see Cui et al. (2006) and dePamphilis et al. (2009).

NYMPHAEALES Dumortier  Main Tree.

Aquatic herbs, plant rhizomatous; starch grains compound; primary root soon aborts; root apex with secondary dermatogen, etc., epidermis derived from outer layer of cortex [unknown from Hydatellaceae]; trichoblasts in vertical files, proximal cell smaller; diaphragms in root aerenchyma; mycorrhizae 0; primary stem with ± scattered vascular bundles; protoxylem lacunae +; vascular cambium 0; nodes?; aerenchyma common; 4-celled uniseriate secretory trichomes with a large terminal cell [hydropoten]; stomata anomocytic; ?lamina margins, leaf base broad; bracts 0; pollen boat-shaped, tectum continuous; ovule with semi-annular [hood-shaped] outer integument; first division of endosperm transverse, chalazal cell undivided, ± enlarged and elongated, haustorial; P persistent; fruit maturation underwater; seeds exotestal, exotesta ± palisade, operculum +, operculum endotegmic [?all], hilum outside operculum; endosperm scanty, perisperm +, starchy, precocious, cells ± multinucleate, embryo broad, cotyledons connate; suspensor 0; germination hypogeal; intergenic inversion in chloroplast inverted repeat. - 3 families, 6 genera, 74 species.

Age. The curious fossil Archaefructus, probably an aquatic plant and about 124 m.y. old, has been linked with Hydatellaceae in morphological analyses (Doyle & Endress 2007, 2010; Doyle 2008b). Although they have very little in common in terms of overall appearance, Archaefructus may be another early aquatic angiosperm with very unconventional floral morphology. Numerous fossils have been identified as members of Nymphaeales; these are discussed below under the individual families.

Evolution. Divergence & Distribution. Cretaceous fossils assignable to Nymphaeaceae are quite common, and it has been suggested that Nymphaeales were "the first globally diverse clade" (Borsch " Soltis 2008: p. 1051; see also Sender et al. 2010). They are a highly derived aquatic clade, so it is unclear to what extent Cabomba or any other member of the order can serve as a model for understanding early angiosperm evolution (c.f. Vialette-Guiraud et al. 2011).

Saarela et al. (2007) suggest a few additional possible synapomorphies for Nymphaeales, and Borsch et al. (2007) discuss the evolution of a number of floral characters.

Chemistry, Morphology, etc. Hydrolysable tannins in this group (e.g. in Nuphar) are different to those found elsewhere (Gottlieb et al. 1993; Ishimatsu et al. 1989) - although of course Hydatellaceae are here, as in many other features, very poorly known. Although there are minute perforations in the end walls of the cells that make up the water conducting tissues in some Nymphaeaceae, they hardly have the morphology of what are called vessel elements elsewhere, however, there are vessels of a variety of types in the roots in the stems of Brasenia. Hydatellaceae also have vessel elements with scalariform perforation plates, although these are absent from the leaves. The distinctive uniseriate trichomes found in all groups may secrete nectar or mucilage, or they may be involved in ion exchange (Vogel 1998a); Wilkinson (2006) calls the trichomes on the leaves, hydropotes. It is possible that there are epidermal oil cells in Nymphaeaceae (Wilkinson 2006); do they contain ethereal oils? For discussion as to whether or not Nuphar has bracts, see Schneider et al. (2003).

The inner bracts found in some Hydatellaceae and the inner petals of Cabomba are notably slow in developing (Rudall et al. 2007). If the corolla represents sterilised stamens, as some think, possession of external staminodes will probably be another synapomorphy at least for [Nymphaeaceae + Cabombaceae]. For discussion about the presence of a granular infratectum in Nymphaeales, see M. I. Taylor et al. (2013); the infractectum is generally columellate. Some genera in all families have exotestal cells that are neither very tall nor much thickened (Hamann et al. 1979; Collinson 1980). For the distinctive single-celled chalazal haustorium, see Rudall et al. (2009b).

Phylogeny. Hydatellaceae are sister to Xyridaceae in Stevenson et al. (2000; see also Stevenson & Loconte 1995); both have latrorse anthers and an operculum "stopper" that is tegmic in origin. Trithuria and Xyris appear as sister taxa (weak support) and in turn sister to Mayaca (still weaker support), although other Xyridaceae are not immediately related (Michelangeli et al. 2003). However, although Bremer (2002) noted that Mayacaceae and Hydatellaceae might be weakly associated with Xyridaceae or Eriocaulaceae, depending on what taxa were included in the analysis, there were a number of long branches in this area and he excluded the first two families from his final analysis, while Janssen and Bremer (2004) suggested that the association of Hydatellaceae with Mayacaceae was probably an artefact (see also Chase et al. 2006).

More recent studies (Saarela et al. 2006, esp. 2007, several genes from two compartments, morphology: Friis & Crane 2007 [commentary]) place Hydatellaceae firmly with Nymphaeales, and sister to [Cabombaceae + Nymphaeaceae]; the sequence that placed Hydatellaceae in Poales was a chimaeric pcr recombinant involving a grass and a moss. Many of the morphological features of Hydatellaceae that made it so different from other monocots are consistent with this new position. Hamann (1998) had even noted that the antipodal cells were absent or degenerated early, and absence of these cells would almost be expected if Hydatellaceae were placed here, indeed, Friedman (2008a) and Rudall et al. (2008) found that Hydatellaceae had the distinctive 4-celled embryo sac of other Nymphaeales and Austrobaileyales.

Includes Cabombaceae, Hydatellaceae, Nymphaeaceae.

Synonymy: Barclayales Doweld, Cabombales Richard, Euryalales H. L. Li, Hydatellales Reveal & Doweld, Hydropeltidales Spenner - Hydatellanae Reveal, Nymphaeanae Reveal - Nymphaeidae Takhtajan - Hydropeltopsida Bartling, Nymphaeopsida Horaninow

HYDATELLACEAE U. Hamann, nom. cons.   Back to Nymphaeales


(Plant annual), growth sympodial, rhizome short, erect; chemistry?; mycorrhizae 0; root stele monarch; cuticular waxes 0; leaves linear, with a single vein, margins entire; plant monoecious; inflorescence axillary, scapose (sessile), capitate, with involucral bracts; flowers very small, monosymmetric by reduction [necessarily so]; P 0; staminate flowers: A 1, filaments long, slender; endothecium 0; tapetal cells?; pollen with spinules; carpellate flowers: pedicel articulated; G 1, three vascular bundles equidistant (2, 1), stigma penicillate, of rows of plump cells; ovule 1/carpel, pendulous, anatropous, apotropous, micropyle bistomal, parietal tissue ca 2 cells across (?0), nucellar cap +/0; (two embryo sacs developing); fruit splitting into three valves, or achenial; apart from exotesta, other layers ± collapsed, tanniniferous; embryo barely differentiated; n = ?; seedling - see below.

1[list]/10. India, New Zealand and Australia (map: from Cooke 1987; FloraBase 2004).

Age. The pollen fossils, Monosulcites riparius, from Eastern Siberia of ca 75-70 m.y. age have been identified as Trithuria, but the family may be represented much earlier in the pollen record from the Isle of Wight in rocks of some 130 m.y. of age (Hoffmann & Zetter 2010).

Evolution. Pollination Biology & Seed Dispersal. For reproductive ecology - wind pollination, self pollination - see Taylor et al. (2010); the pollen tubes grow down the multicellular hairs under the cuticle (Prychid et al. 2011).

Chemistry, Morphology, etc. The sieve tube plastids were reported as having triangular proteinaceous inclusions, but these inclusions appear to be of the starchy type as are more to be expected in this part of the tree (Tratt et al. 2009).

The inflorescence is described as being cymose and capitate, although bractless and with highly reduced flowers, i.e., it is a sort of pseudanthium, although alternative interpretations are possible (Rudall et al. 2007a, 2009a). Early work suggested that the carpels might be initiated outside the stamens, and this has been confirmed (Rudall et al. 2007a); staminate flowers are the first to be initiated in the cymose inflorescence (see also Begoniaceae). Hairs with possible apical secretory cells are known only from the inflorescences. The pedicels seem at least sometimes to be articulated. Microsporogenesis may be simultaneous (Remizowa et al. 2008b). The fruit opens along three lines as the three vascular bundles separate from the rest of the pericarp (see also Sokoloff et al. 2013a). Both integuments have two cell layers; the operculum is formed from enlarged cells of the inner integument. Starch deposition in tissues that will become perisperm begins before fertilization (Friedman 2008a).

There is some disagreement over the interpretation of the morphology of the embryo. Tillich et al. (2007) compared it with that of a monocot, describing collar rhizoids, a coleoptile, two cotyledonary sheath lobes, and a haustorium. Sokoloff et al. (2008a) suggested that the sheathing structure with its bilobed apex that is found in some species could be interpreted as two, more or less completely connate cotyledons. The rest of the seed is attached to the sheathing structure, and a layer of endosperm is the intermediary between the embryo and perisperm (Friedman et al. 2012). In some taxa there is apparently no sheathing structure at all, only a haustorial lateral outgrowth (cotyledonary) that goes into the seed, the rest of the cotyledon being photosynthetic, so the seedlings are simultaneously both phanero- and cryptocotylar - c.f. some monocots (Sokoloff et al. 2013b)! Sokoloff et al. (2008a) suggested that Hydatellaceae showed how monocot-like embryos/seedlings might have originated. Both Tillich et al. (2007) and Sokoloff et al. (2008a) examined largely surface morphology, neither looked in any detail at anatomy (c.f. Friedman et al. 2012: superb micrographs). Tuckett et al. (2010: discussion of "ancestral" embryo type for angiosperms must include Amborellaceae, at least) found that the differentiation of the embryo and appearance of the shoot and root occurred only after germination.

Additional information is taken from Cutler (1969: vegetative anatomy), Hamann (1975, 1998 - embryology and general respectively), Cook (1983: germination), Hamann et al. (1979: seed anatomy), Rudall et al. (2007a: flower/inflorescence development), Rudall et al. (2008a: embryology), and Sokoloff et al. (2009a: growth patterns of the perennial species).

Classification. Sokoloff et al. (2008b) monographed the family.

Previous Relationships. Hydatellaceae had long been considered to be monocots, largely because of their superficial similarity to Centrolepidaceae. Both groups are very reduced morphologically, and indeed Hydatellaceae have been misidentified as Centrolepidaceae. It was unclear if the gynoecium of Hydatellaceae was 1- or 3-carpellate, and since the fruits of Trithuria (= Hydatella) opened by three valves, they looked rather monocot-like. The combination of characters in Hydatellaceae was recognised as being unique to that group, indeed, it made them very distinctive within monocots as a whole (e.g. Hamann et al. 1979; Dahlgren et al. 1985).

[Cabombaceae + Nymphaeaceae]: plant monopodial, rhizome/stolon elongated; hydroyzable [ellagi]tannins +; vessel elements in roots, with extensive fibrillar network in the end plates; pit membranes of tracheids with two thick layers of large fibrils; minute rhombic crystals on stellate cells [astrosclereids, stellate parenchyma cells]; leaves peltate, (divided), lamina vernation involute, secondary veins palmate, actinodromous, festoon brochidodromous, margin toothed, crenate or entire, (hydathodes +); flowers single; receptacle with cortical vascular system; P whorled, (outer [inner] whorls in 3's), outer members enclosing the rest of the bud; A whorled; tapetal cells multinucleate; pollen tube growth moderately fast; carpel margins with postgenital fusion, placentation ± laminar; parietal tissue ca 1 cell across; embryo sac very small relative to nucellus; mesocarp ± aerenchymatous; exotesta with sinuous anticlinal cell walls; embryo suspensor 0 [?level].

Age. There has been much discussion over the timing of diversification within the Cabombaceae-Nymphaeaceae clade (e.g. Nixon 2008), and dates from molecular and molecular analyses in part conflict strongly. Wikström et al. (2001: c.f. relationships) suggested that divergence of the two families occurred (152-)144, 111(-103) m.y.a., while the age in Magallón and Castillo (2009) is ca 112 m.y., and that in Magallón et al. (2013) around 122.7 m.y.. However, Löhne et al. (2008) thought that divergence was only Palaeocene in age, (75-)56.4(-38) m.y.a., while Bell et al. (2010: Amborellaceae sister to Nymphaeales) offered a still younger date of (56-)42, 38(-25) m.y.; Yoo et al. (2005) pegged the crown group age to 44.6 ± 7.9 m.y..

Early fossil-based estimates for the age of this group were only ca 90 m.y. (Crepet et al. 2004), but substantially earlier dates are likely (Friis et al. 2009b). Indeed, fossils assigned to Nymphaeaceae, Cabombaceae and/or stem-group Nymphaeales (i.e. Nymphaeaceae + Cabombaceae) are known from the Lower Cretaceous and from several parts of the world (e.g. D. W. Taylor et al. 2001, 2008). Although other fossils possibly of this group (to a certain extent characters of the two families are combined) are known from the Barremian-Aptian deposits 125-113 m.y.o. in Portugal (Friis et al. 2001), they may also be from a member of Austrobaileyales (Gandolfo et al. 2004); see also von Balthazar et al. (2008) for another fossil perhaps assignable to this general [Nymphaeales-Austrobaileyales] area. D. W. Taylor et al. (2008, see also Taylor 2008) noted how inclusion of different fossils affected relationships.

Recently, fossils assignable to crown group Nymphaeaceae (as Jaguariba) have been found in the Aptian Crato flora, some 115 m.y.o. in northeast Brazil (Coiffard et al. 2013a) while Pluricarpellatia, probably Cabombaceae, is known from the same rocks (Mohr et al. 2008). Morphological analyses placed the Early Cretaceous Monetanthus in an embedded position within Nymphaeaceae (Friis et al. 2009b). The distinctive reticulate-perforate pollen of Monetanthus would then be independently derived within Nymphaeales, but other analyses also placed the genus at the node above Nymphaeales along the spine of the angiosperm tree (Friis et al. 2009b). Yoo et al. (2005) thought that the fossil Microvictoria was perhaps stem group Nymphaeales (c.f. Gandolfo et al. 2004).

Evolution. Divergence & Distribution. D. W. Taylor et al. (2008, see also Taylor 2008) discuss the vegetative evolution of the group (see some of the characters above); the inclusion of different fossils affected relationships, and hence evolutionary interpretations, in analyses of morphological variation.

Ecology & Physiology. Nymphaeales, along with other angiosperms, may have dominated aquatic habitats in Europe by the Albian ca 105 m.y.a. (Sender et al. 2010).

Chemistry, Morphology, etc. For micromorphological details of vessels and tracheids, see Carlquist and Schneider (2009) and Schneider et al. (2009); details of the wall structure of tracheids, at least, are very distinctive. Note that Carpenter (2005) described stomata as being largely variants of the actino/stephanocytic types; only one member of Cabombaceae was studied. Taylor (2008) outlined the vegetative morphology of this clade; Nymphaea s. str. appeared as monophyletic in a phylogenetic analysis of these characters, but without much support. Warner et al. (2008) discuss perianth evolution; they provide a useful summary on the literature on perianth morphology.

For information on anatomy, see Gwynne-Vaughan (1897), for root epidermis, see Voronkina (1974: ordinal characterisation above), for perianth venation, see Hiepko (1965b), for pollen morphology, see Osborn et al. (1991), for the development of the embryo sac, Orban and Bouharmont (1998), for the chloroplast inverted repeat, Graham and Olmstead (2000), for endosperm evolution, Floyd and Friedman (2001), for ovule development, see Yamada et al. (2001b), for root anatomy, see Seago (2002), for seed anatomy, see Collinson (1980) and Chen et al. (2004), for more on vessels and tracheids, see Schneider and Carlquist (2009a, b), for tapetum development, see Taylor et al. (2012), for pericarp anatomy, Yatzenko et al. (2012), and for general information, Les et al. (1999) and Schneider et al (2003).

CABOMBACEAE A. Richard   Back to Nymphaeales


Plant floating, rhizome/stem horizontal; alkaloids 0; root stele monarch; stem vascular tissue with two pairs of bundles; internodes long; (leaves opposite), (lamina with semidichotomous venation); flowers rather small, parts whorled, (2)3(4)-merous, polysymmetric [hexamerous]; P = T, two-whorled, petal-like, members with single trace, (inner whorl somewhat delayed in development, with nectaries - Cabomba); A (3, 6), extrorse to latrorse, filaments moderately slender; tapetum more or less amoeboid; pollen (trichotomocolpate, tectum continuous, striate - Cabomba), endexine lamellate when young, not when mature; pollen tube growth intra-gynoecial; G (1-)3-18(-22), when 3 or more, inner whorl of three ± opposite petals, three vascular bundles equidistant, stylar neck +, stigma terminal, capitate, (elongate - Brasenia); ovules 1-3(-5)/carpel, attached variously, outer integument semi-annular [hood-shaped], nucellar epidermal cells ± radially elongated, hypostase +; fruits follicles or achenes; hilum and micropyle sharing same opening in center of operculum; endosperm helobial [micropylar cell alone with free-nuclear division]; n = 40, 48, 52; germination?.

2[list]/6. World-wide, Brasenia schreberi subfossil remains show it to be far more widespread in Europe than at present (map: from Raymond & Dansereau 1949; Fassett 1953; Ørgaard et al. 1992; Hultén 1961; Fl. N. Am. III 1997; Trop. Afr. Fl. Pl. Ecol. Distr. 1. 2003, 6. 2011; Löhne et al. 2008). [Photo - Brasenia Habit] [Photo - Flower.]

Age. Bell et al. (2010) suggested that the two genera diverged (31-)21, 20(-10) m.y.a.; other estimates are (109-)101(-93) and (75-)67, 60(-52) m.y. (Wikström et al. 2001).

Pluricarpellatia, probably Cabombaceae, is known from rocks 115 m.y.o. in northeast Brazil (Mohr et al. 2008).

Evolution. Pollination Biology & Seed Dispersal. Brasenia is wind pollinated, while Cabomba has paired nectaries on its inner tepals and is pollinated by flies; Taylor and Williams (2009) describe details of reproduction from pollination to fertlization in considerable detail.

Chemistry, Morphology, etc. The root endodermis has a Casparian strip and suberin lamellae. It is unclear how to interpret nodal anatomy. In Cambomba a trace leaves from each member of a vascular budle pair which shortly thereafter fuse commissurally, creating a nodal plexus; the foliar traces fuse and then divide, providing two petiolar bundles (Moseley et al. 1984). Brasenia has stems that are encased in a thick layer of mucilage; there are paired, glandular patches at the nodes. The peltate leaves are spirally arranged, although in some taxa they are uncommon; the more or less dichotomously-divided submerged leaves are opposite. There are five vascular bundles in the sepals and three vascular bundles in the petals of Cambomba, in both cases there is a single trace leaving the floral axis (Moseley et al. 1984). Stamens are sometimes physically close to each nectary and then they appear paired (Ørgaard et al. 1992). Pollen of Cabomba has striate exine. Although the endexine of mature pollen of Brasenia schreberi is not lamellate, it is laid down in plates (M. L. Taylor & Osborn 2006).

The granular infratectum of Podostemaceae has been compared with that of Cabombaceae; both are aquatics (Passarelli et al. 2002).

Some information is taken from Khanna (1965) and Batygina et al. (1982), both embryology, Richardson (1969: development of Brasenia flowers), Schneider and Jeter (1982: pollination of Cabomba), Williamson and Schneider (1993: general), Floyd and Friedman (2000: endosperm development), D. W. Taylor et al. (2001: fossils) and M. L. Taylor et al. (2008: esp. pollen).

Synonymy: Hydropeltidaceae Dumortier

NYMPHAEACEAE Salisbury   Back to Nymphaeales


Perennials (annuals); myricetin, sesquiterpene [pseud]alkaloids; a root arises below each leaf; root stele polyarch; stem vascular tissue complex, (in concentric rings), axial bundles concentric; astrosclereids +; nodes 3:3; flowers neither terminal nor axillary [often replace leaf in spiral]; flowers large, haplomorphic; P members usu. with sepaloid and petal-like areas; A many, often whorled, laminar, the staminal bundle branched from near base in thecal region, staminodes +, next to G (also next to P), (filaments stout), connective produced or not; tapetum both glandular and amoeboid; microsporogenesis simultaneous; (pollen tricellular), (no exine), (endexine lamellate); G laterally connate only, whorled, margin fusion also postgenital, stigma dry; ovules (3-)many/carpel, not filling the locule, (straight), outer integument also cap-shaped [annular]; fruit baccate; (exotesta not palisade; anticlinal walls not sinuous); endosperm scanty, embryo green or white, plug-like, (large).

3[list]/58. World-wide (map: from Vester 1940; Wickens 1976; Hultén 1961; Trop. Afr. Fl. Pl. Ecol. Distr. 1. 2003; Heywood 2007; Löhne et al. 2008). [Photo - Leaf, Flower.]

Age. E. L. Schneider et al. (2004) suggested an age for the family of ca 121 m.y. and Magallón et al. (2013) suggested a crown-group age of around 100.1 m.y., however, estimates in Bell et al. (2010) are only (49-)32, 29(-15) m.y..

The Late Aptian/Early Albian Cretaceous Monetianthus, from Portugal, is embedded in Nymphaeaceae in morphological analyses (Friis et al. 2009b). Microvictoria, a somewhat later fossil from the Turonian ca 90 m.y. old and found in New Jersey, U.S.A., is very like Victoria (= Nymphaea). Victoria has "paracarpels" immediately surrounding the gynoecium, and these are also found in Microvictoria; indeed, flowers of this latter are like those of Victoria in almost all respects, although they are less than 1/10th their size (Gandolfo et al. 2004). Jaguariba is assignable to crown group Nymphaeaceae; it is from the Aptian Crato flora of northeast Brazil and is some 115 m.y.o. (Coiffard et al. 2013a).

1. Nupharoideae Ito

Rhizomes stout, horizontal, creeping; indolizidine alkaloids +; roots with 10-18 xylem poles, pith large; bracts +; P dimorphic, 1-veined, outer members 5-14, spiral, the outer greenish, the inner coloured, inner tepals many, small, petal-like, somewhat delayed in development; nectary on abaxial surface of inner tepals; anther connective strongly produced; pollen grains tricellular, spiny, tectum continuous, aperture operculate; G 5-23(-36); outer integument 4-6 cells across, parietal tissue ca 2 cells across, nucellar cap ca 4 cells across, hypostase, postament +; fruit emergent; n = 17.

1/11. North Temperate.

Synonymy: Nupharaceae A. Kerner

2. Nymphaeoideae

(Rhizome short, erect); roots with 5-9 xylem poles, pith at most small; vegetative buds not axillary; stipules +, adaxial or lateral; inner satellite peduncle bundle +; bracts 0; hypanthium ± developed; P members 3-veined, K 4-5, spiral, (C 0 - some Ondinea); intermediates between A and C; staminodes showy; (staminal bundle unbranched, esp. in smaller inner A); pollen (in tetrads), (binucleate), with encircling sulcus (inaperturate), surface various, inc. tectum continuous; G 3-many, more or less inferior [A alone on top of G, K and "C" also often on top; A also adnate to "C"], with inter-carpel septal slits, floral axis projecting in the middle [not Barclaya], stigmatic surface continuous; ovules (straight - Barclaya), (micropyle bistomal), (outer integument to 20 cells across - Euryale), (parietal tissue 3-4 cells across - Victoria); seeds arillate (not, but spiny - Barclaya), (exotesta cells cuboid - Euryale); n = 10, 12, 14-18.

2/48: Nymphaea (46). World-wide.

Synonymy: Barclayaceae H.-L. Li, Euryalaceae J. Agardh

Evolution. Divergence & Distribution. The family is thought to have been much more diverse in earlier epochs, with distinctive seeds with a micropylar and palisade exotesta with sinuous anticlinal walls that can be assigned here being common in the Cretaceous (Friis et al. 2009b for references).

Although the family is widespread and probably very old, individual clades within it are relatively localized, and crown group diversification may have occurred in the northern hemisphere as late as the early Tertiary (Löhne et al. 2008).

Plant-Animal Interactions. Nymphaeaceae are host plants of reed beetles, Chrysomelidae-Donaciinae (see also Poales: Kölsch & Pedersen 2008: much discussion on the age and evolution of the group). Interestingly, Enterobacteriaceae near Buchnera are believed to produce the material that makes up the cocoon that characterises Donaciinae, a group that is also noted for the ability of the larvae to grow under water (Kölsch & Pedersen 2010).

Pollination Biology & Seed Dispersal. Thermogenesis has been detected in the flowers of some Nymphaeaceae (Seymour 2001; Seymour & Matthews 2006). Beetles and a variety of other insects, including flies, are pollinators (e.g. Gandolfo et al. 2004; Padgett 2007; Thien et al. 2009). Scarab beetles (Cyclocephalini) may have pollinated night-flowering water lilies for some 100 m.y.; they pollinate species both in America, where the beetles are common, and in Africa, where the beetles are otherwise very uncommon (Ervik & Knudsen 2003). Beetle pollination may have occured even in the early small-flowered members of the fammily (M. I. Taylor et al. 2013 and references). The distinctive flowers of Ondinea, wind pollinated, are derived from Nymphaea-type flowers (Löhne et al. 2009). Schneider (1979) summarized information about the pollination biology of the family.

The progamic phase, the time between pollination and fertilization, is notably short, up to a mere 8 hours, as in at least some other aquatic angiosperms (including Nelumbo: see Williams et al. 2010).

Dehiscence of the fruit of Nymphaeaoideae is by swelling of the mucilage inside it, whereupon the wall splits irregularly.

Chemistry, Morphology, etc. The root endodermis has a Casparian strip. There are sometimes sclerenchymatous diaphragms in the pith. The vasculature of the stem is exceedingly complex, especially at the node, with peduncular complexes forming internally, however, basic stem structure is unlike that of monocotyledons; the primary xylem is mesarch (Weidlich 1980 and references). Schneider et al. (2008, 2009) and Schneider and Carlquist (2009) discuss stem tracheids and root vessels, emphasizing the rather arbitrary distinction between vessels and tracheids; Carlquist (2012c) suggested that there were no vessels. The astrosclereids of Nuphar and Nymphaea, at least, have calcium oxalate crystals in the walls (Fink 1991). Stipules may be adaxial and bicarinate or paired and lateral.

In both Nuphar and Nymphaea flowers and even branches may replace leaves in the genetic spiral (e.g. Cutter 1957a, b; Groß et al. 2006). Cutter (1957b) noted that the leaf apparently subtending the flower of Nuphar was in fact born on the flower stalk; if a prophyll, it should be noted that it is abaxial in position!

Flower parts are generally whorled (e.g. ). Yoo et al. (2010) discuss the evolutionary/developmental relationship between sepals and petals; see also Doyle and Endress (2011), who suggest that Nuphar has both tepals and petals. Schneider (1976) and Moseley and Uhl (1985) note that the vascular supply to perianth and androecial members consists of two radially associated bundles. In Euryale the filaments are quite slender and are basally adnate to the staminodes; it is unclear if it has free nuclear endosperm (Floyd & Friedman 2001 - see also Kanna 1964, 1967 for endosperm development in the family). Weberling (1989) suggested that in at least some Nymphaeaceae the individual carpels were free laterally, if adnate to the central axis inside and to "hypanthial" tissue outside (see also von Balthazar et al. 2008). Zhou and Fu (2008) found that at anthesis, but not before or after, the micropyle of Nuphar was bistomal, not endostomal. Weberling (1989) also described how in Nuphar axial tissue separates from the gynoecium when the fruits are ripe, so exposing the basically free carpels; if this is correct (but it seems rather unlikely), its gynoecium would be very similar to that of other Nymphaeaceae; Padgett (2007) described dehiscence as being along lines in the septal and ovarian walls where aerenchymatous tissue had developed. The seedling axis of some species of Nymphaea have a lateral projection.

Some information is taken from Schneider and Williamson (1993: general); Takhtajan (1988) provided much information on ovules and seeds, Khanna (1964, 1967) described embryology (8-nucleate embryo sacs...), Moseley (1958) stamen morphology, Yao et al. (2004), Taylor et al. (2013: Victoria) and Coiro et al. (2013) pollen morphology, Shamrov (1998) the ovule of Nuphar, Floyd and Friedman (2001) endosperm development, and Tillich (1990) seedling morphology.

Phylogeny. Liu et al. (2005) provide an ITS phylogeny of the family, but with some rather surprising relationships - Nuphar [Cabomba + Brasenia] [Nymphaea [Euryale + Victoria]]. Nelumbo, which was included in the analysis, did at least stay outside this clade... For a phylogeny of Nymphaea, see Borsch et al. (2007, 2012); the genus definitely includes the wind-pollinated and usually apetalous Ondinea, but some relationships lacked much support, e.g. the position of [Euryale + Victoria] as sister to Nymphaea s.l. However, in some studies the spiny Victoria and Euryale are embedded in Nymphaea s.l., as of course is Ondinea (Löhne et al. 2007, 2009; Borsch et al. 2008).

Taxonomy. For a revision of Nuphar, see Padgett (2007).