Methods: Observations were performed using light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Ancestral states of selected wood and pith characters were reconstructed using an existing molecular phylogeny for Nepenthes and a broader Caryophyllales framework. Pairwise comparisons were assessed for possible relationships between wood anatomy and developmental stages, growth habits, substrates and ecology.
Key Results: Wood anatomy of Nepenthes is diffuse porous, with mainly solitary vessels showing simple, bordered perforation plates and alternate intervessel pits, fibres with distinctly bordered pits (occasionally septate), apotracheal axial parenchyma and co-occurring uni- and multiseriate rays often including silica bodies. Precipitation and growth habit (stem length) are linked with vessel density and multiseriate ray height, while soil type correlates with vessel diameter, vessel element length and maximum ray width. For Caryophyllales as a whole, silica grains, successive cambia and bordered perforation plates are the result of convergent evolution. Peculiar helical sculpturing patterns within various cell types occur uniquely within the insectivorous clade of non-core Caryophyllales.
Conclusions: The wood anatomical variation in Nepenthes displays variation for some characters dependent on soil type, precipitation and stem length, but is largely conservative. The helical-banded fibre-sclereids that mainly occur idioblastically in pith and cortex are synapomorphic for Nepenthes , while other typical Nepenthes characters evolved convergently in different Caryophyllales lineages.
METHODS: Using data from 12 microsatellite loci, we assessed the genetic diversity and genetic/geographic structure for 353 cempedak and 175 bangkong accessions from Malaysia and neighboring countries and employed clonal analysis to characterize cempedak cultivars. We conducted haplotype network analyses on the trnH-psbA region in a subset of these samples. We also analyzed key vegetative characters that reportedly differentiate cempedak and bangkong.
KEY RESULTS: We show that cempedak and bangkong are sister taxa and distinct genetically and morphologically, but the directionality of domestication origin is unclear. Genetic diversity was generally higher in bangkong than in cempedak. We found a distinct genetic cluster for cempedak from Borneo as compared to cempedak from Peninsular Malaysia. Finally, cempedak cultivars with the same names did not always share the same genetic fingerprint.
CONCLUSIONS: Cempedak origins are complex, with likely admixture and hybridization with bangkong, warranting further investigation. We provide a baseline of genetic diversity of cempedak and bangkong in Malaysia and found that germplasm collections in Malaysia represent diverse coverage of the four cempedak genetic clusters detected.
METHODS: The chloroplast ultrastructure of 76 Selaginella species was studied with various microscopic techniques. Environmental data for selected species and subgeneric relationships were compared against chloroplast traits.
RESULTS: We delineated five chloroplast categories: ME (monoplastidy in a dorsal epidermal cell), MM (monoplastidy in a mesophyll cell), OL (oligoplastidy), Mu (multiplastidy, present in the most basal species), and RC (reduced or vestigial chloroplasts). Of 44 ME species, 11 have bizonoplasts, cup-shaped (concave upper zone) or bilobed (basal hinge, a new discovery), with upper zones of parallel thylakoid membranes varying subtly between species. Monoplastidy, found in 49 species, is strongly shade associated. Bizonoplasts are only known in deep-shade species (<2.1% full sunlight) of subgenus Stachygynandrum but in both the Old and New Worlds.
CONCLUSIONS: Multiplastidic chloroplasts are most likely basal, implying that monoplastidy and bizonoplasts are derived traits, with monoplastidy evolving at least twice, potentially as an adaptation to low light. Although there is insufficient information to understand the adaptive significance of the numerous structural variants, they are unmatched in the vascular plants, suggesting unusual evolutionary flexibility in this ancient plant genus.