Synflorescence morphology of species of Typha L. (Typhaceae): anatomical and ontogenetic bases for taxonomic applications

ABSTRACT The inflorescence of plants of the genus Typha L. consists of a polytelic system with the fertile region containing staminate flowers in the terminal portion and pistillate flowers in the basal portion. Although some useful morphological information has been provided to characterize species of the genus, various divergent typologies have arisen due to mistaken interpretations that ignore the different degrees of branching in this indeterminate system. The present study aimed to identify structural homologies by comparing the morphology and ontogeny of the synflorescences of Typha domingensis, T. latifolia and their putative hybrid, T. x provincialis, using standard micro-techniques for light and electron microscopy. Analysis revealed that the synflorescence of species of Typha should be considered a homothetic triple raceme. New diagnostic characters are proposed for both the pistillate and staminate portions. Differences among the apices of the pistillate portions are compared for the first time, and mainly involve the rate of lengthening of the second order branch, which is species specific. The data and interpretations proposed in this study should serve as a basis for proposing homologies for different structures of the synflorescences of species of Typha.