Transmission Electron Microscopy and Systematics of Flowering Plants

  • H.-D. Behnke
Part of the Plant Systematics and Evolution / Entwicklungsgeschichte und Systematik der Pflanzen book series (SYSTEMATICS, volume 1)


From the large number of TEM investigations of plant cells only two characters have so far proved useful for the classification of higher taxa of flowering plants.
  1. 1.

    Dilated cisternae of endoplasmic reticulum in root cap cells and bundle parenchyma cells are a characteristic feature of members of Capparales and will be discussed with respect to their systematic reliability.

  2. 2.

    The micromorphological differences identified within sieve-element plastids represent the only character presently available which is generally applicable to the higher taxa of seed plants: The major distinction between Types of sieve-element plastids is based on the presence (P-Type) or absence (S-Type) of protein accumulations, while their micromorphology and combinations define subTypes of sieve-element plastids. Specific subTypes characterize the Monocotyledoneae (P II) and the Centrospermae (P III). Magnoliales/Laurales (P I) and Fabales (P IV) contain distinct subTypes in some of their families and genera, while others have only S-Type. Aristolochiales, Vitineae, Eucryphiaceae, Gunneraceae contain subtype P I-plastids.


Classification and delimitation of higher taxa in flowering plants can be aided by utilizing the different Types of sieve-element plastids, as has been best demonstrated in the Centrospermae but is also applicable to monocotyledons and a number of other taxa. An analysis of investigated species and projection into the total number of extant angiosperms results in a distribution of 35% P-Type and 65% S-Type.

In discussing phylogenetic relationships the plastid data are superimposed on Cronquist’s, Dahlgren’s, Ehrendorfer’s and Takhtajan’s angiosperm systems. Finally, arguments for the P-Type being the ancestral sieve-element plastid are presented and it is suggested that on multiple occasions the S-Type (by loss of protein) has been derived.


Flowering Plant High Taxon Transmission Electron Microscopy Investigation Protein Tubule Transmission Electron Microscopy Method 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • H.-D. Behnke
    • 1
  1. 1.Lehrstuhl für Zellenlehre der Universität HeidelbergHeidelberg 1Federal Republic of Germany

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