A Commentary on a Diagrammatic Presentation of the Angiosperms in Relation to the Distribution of Character States

  • Rolf Dahlgren
Part of the Plant Systematics and Evolution / Entwicklungsgeschichte und Systematik der Pflanzen book series (SYSTEMATICS, volume 1)


The difficulty, not to say impossibility, of presenting groups of orders as variously shaped figures in a two-dimensional diagram to indicate relationships is first emphasized. However, the method can be used to demonstrate the distribution of character states. The distributional patterns of a number of character states are presented with brief comments, viz. sympetaly, epigyny and perigyny, centrifugal succession in multi-staminate androecia, pollen grains with one aperture, the successive type of microsporogenesis, apocarpy, three-nucleate pollen grains (the “dry” stigmas and the C4 pathways being largely correlated with this attribute), unitegmic and tenuinucellate ovules and cellular and helobial types of endosperm formation. In addition, the distribution in dicotyledons is outlined for the synthesis of ellagic acid, iridoids, benzylisoquinoline alkaloids, glucosinolates and polyacetylenes derived from fatty acids. In monocotyledons other characters prove useful in gross taxonomy, for instance the presence of vessels in the stem, the presence of starch in the endosperm and the presence of oxalate raphides and silica bodies, as well as more conventional characters such as floral symmetry, epigyny versus hypogyny, stamen number and fruit type. Comments on the possible taxonomic significance of the characters shown are included. An apparent connection between certain constellations of orders (superorders) is pointed out. Finally, an appeal is made for further cooperation in presenting the distribution of other character states which may be of taxonomic importance at the higher levels.


Character State Ellagic Acid Sesquiterpene Lactone Silica Body Endosperm Formation 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bate-Smith, E. C., 1973: Systematic distribution of ellagitannins in relation to the phylogeny and classification of the angiosperms. Nobel Symposium 25, 93–102.Google Scholar
  2. Behnke, H.-D., 1971: Zum Feinbau der Siebröhren-Piastiden von Ari-stolochia und Asarum (Aristolochiaceae). Planta 97, 62–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Behnke, H.-D., 1975: P-type sieve element plastids: a correlative ultrastructural and ultrahistological study on the diversity and uniformity of a new reliable character in seed plant systematics. Protoplasma 83, 91–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Behnke, H.-D., and Dahlgren, R., 1976: The distribution of characters within an angiosperm system. 2. Sieve-element plastids. Bot. Notiser (Lund) 129, 287–295.Google Scholar
  5. Brewbaker, J.L., 1967: The distribution and phylogenetic significance of binucleate and trinucleate pollen grains in the angiosperms. Amer. J. Bot. 54, 1069–1083.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cronquist, A., 1968: The evolution and classification of flowering plants. London-Edinburgh: Nelson.Google Scholar
  7. Dahlgren, R., 1975a: A system of classification of the angiosperms to be used to demonstrate the distribution of characters. Bot. Notiser (Lund) 128, 119–147.Google Scholar
  8. Dahlgren, K., 1975b: Current topics. The distribution of characters within an angiosperm system. I. Some embryological characters. Bot. Notiser (Lund) 128, 181–197.Google Scholar
  9. Dahlgren, K., in cooperation with Hansen, B., Jakobsen, K., and Larsen, K., 1974: Angiospermernes taxonomi, 1. (In Danish.) Kobenhavn: Akademisk Forlag.Google Scholar
  10. Dahlgren, K., 1975a: Ibid. 2.Google Scholar
  11. Dahlgren, K., 1975b: Ibid. 3.Google Scholar
  12. Dahlgren, K., 1976a: Ibid. 4.Google Scholar
  13. Dahlgren, K., Jensen, S. R., and Nielsen, B. J., 1976b: Iridoid compounds in Fouquieriaceae and notes on its possible affinities. Bot. Notiser (Lund) 129, 207–12.Google Scholar
  14. Ettlinger, M., (unpubl. ms.): Plant analysis by butterfly; the occurrence of benzylglucosinolate in Batis maritima and its context in systematics and chemical evolution.Google Scholar
  15. Fish, F., and Waterman, P. G., 1973: Chemosystematics in the Rutaceae II. The chemosystematics of the Zanthoxylum/Fagara complex. Taxon 22, 177–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gupta, B. D., Banerjee, S. K., and Handa, K. L., 1976: Alkaloids and coumarins of Heracleum wallichii. Phytochemistry 15, 576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hansen, B., 1976: Pollen and stigma conditions in Balanophoraceae. Bot. Notiser (Lund) 129, 341–345.Google Scholar
  18. Heslop-Harrison, J., 1968: Ribosome sites and S gene action. Nature 218, 90–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Heslop-Harrison, J., 1975: Incompatibility and the pollen-stigma interaction. Ann. Rev. Plant Physiol. 26, 403–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Heslop-Harrison, J., 1976: A new look at pollination. Rep. E. Mailing Res. Stn. for 1975, 141–157.Google Scholar
  21. Hansel, R., Leuschke, A., and Gomez-Pompa, A., 1975: Aporphine-type alkaloids from Piper auritum. Lloydia 38, 529–530.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Jensen, S. R., Nielsen, B. J., and Dahlgren, R., 1975: Iridoid compounds, their occurrence and systematic importance in the angiosperms. Bot. Notiser (Lund) 128, 148–180.Google Scholar
  23. Kubitzki, K., 1969: Chemosystematische Betrachtungen zur Großgliede-rung der Blütenpflanzen. Taxon 18, 360–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kubitzki, K., 1973: Probleme der Großsystematik der Blütenpflanzen. Ber. dtsch. bot. Ges. 85, 259–277 (1972).Google Scholar
  25. Lee, D. W., and Fairbrothers, D. E., 1972: Taxonomic placement of the Typhaies within the monocotyledons: preliminary serological investigation. Taxon 21, 39–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Leins, P., 1972: Das Androeceum der Dikotylen. Ber. Deutsch. Bot. Ges. 84, 191–193.Google Scholar
  27. Leins, P., 1975: Die Beziehungen zwischen multistaminaten und einfachen An-droeceen. Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 96, 231–237.Google Scholar
  28. Merxmüller, H., 1972: Systematic botany—an unachieved synthesis. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 4, 311–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nannfeldt, J. A., 1968: Fungi as plant taxonomists. Festskrift till T. Segerstedt. Acta Univ. Uppsala, 85–95.Google Scholar
  30. Philipson, W. R., 1974: Ovular morphology and major classification of the dicotyledons. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 68, 89–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Stebbins, G. L., 1974: Flowering plants. Evolution above the species level. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press.Google Scholar
  32. Takhtajan, A., 1969: Flowering plants. Origin and dispersal. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd.Google Scholar
  33. Thorne, R. F., 1968: Synopsis of a putative phylogenetic classification of the flowering plants. Aliso 6, 57–66.Google Scholar
  34. Tucker, S. C., 1972: The role of ontogenetic evidence in floral morphology. Adv. Pl. Morph., 359–369.Google Scholar
  35. Wagner, P., in prep.: Distribution of vessels in roots, stems and leaves of the monocotyledons. Bot. Notiser 130. Google Scholar
  36. Walker, J. W., 1974: Aperture evolution in the pollen of primitive angiosperms. Amer. J. Bot. 61, 1112–1137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Walker, J. W., 1976: Comparative pollen morphology and phylogeny of the Ranalean complex. In: Origin and early evolution of angiosperms (Beck, C. B., ed.), 241–299. Columbia Univ. Press.Google Scholar
  38. Walker, J. W., and Doyle, J. A., 1976: The bases of angiosperm phylogeny: Palynology. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 62, 664–723 (1975).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wunderlich, R., 1959: Zur Frage der Phylogenie der Endospermtypen bei den Angiospermen. Österreich. Bot. Zeitschr. 106, 203–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rolf Dahlgren
    • 1
  1. 1.Botanical Museum of the University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

Personalised recommendations