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Article

Morphological characterization of diploid and triploid Acorus calamus (Acoraceae) from southern Western Siberia, parthenocarpy in sterile plants and occurrence of aneuploidy

Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 2021. Vol. 195. No. 2. P. 189-215.
Sokoloff D. D., Skaptsov M. V., Vislobokov N. A., Smirnov S. V., Shmakov A. I., Remizowa M.

Finding morphological differences between cytotypes that are stable throughout their geographical range is important for understanding evolution of polyploid complexes. The ancient monocot lineage Acorus includes two groups, of which A. calamus s.l., an important medicinal plant, is a polyploid complex with a centre of diversity in Asia. European plants are sterile triploids introduced by humans. An early study suggested that plants from temperate Asia are tetraploids, but subsequent work revealed diploids and triploids rather than tetraploids in Asiatic Russia; however, cytotype diversity in Western Siberia is insufficiently known. We document the occurrence of diploids and triploids in Western Siberia. Triploids that do not differ in genome size from European Acorus are abundant in the valley of the river Ob where the ability for extensive vegetative propagation provides ecological advantages. An isolated population of aneuploid triploids with 33 chromosomes is found outside the Ob valley. Flow cytometry provides an efficient tool for identification of aneuploid plants in Acorus. All triploids are sterile, but their flowers develop uniform parthenocarpic fruits. Fruits of diploids usually vary in size within a spadix depending on the number of developing seeds. In contrast to North America, where the native diploid plants differ from the introduced triploids by the absence of a secondary midrib of the ensiform leaf blade, Siberian diploids are similar to triploids in possessing a secondary midrib. We confirm that diploids differ from triploids in the size of air lacunae in leaves, which is determined by cell number rather than cell size in septa of aerenchyma. A combination of spathe width and spadix length measured after the male stage of anthesis shows different (slightly overlapping) patterns of variation between diploids and triploids in our material.