Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems

Chromosome numbers in the proteaceae

HP Ramsay

Australian Journal of Botany 11(1) 1 - 20
Published: 1963


Chromosome numbers have been determined for 19 genera and 53 species of Proteaceae in Australia. The chromosomes are small in all genera except Persoonia n = 7, Placospermum n = 7 (Johnson and Briggs 1963) and Bellendena n = 5 (Venkata Rao 1957), which have chromosomes comparable in size with those in the Liliaceae and Ranunculaceae.

In other Australian genera chromosome numbers range from n = 14 (Cenarrhenes, Macadamia, Xylornelum, Lambertia, Banksia, Dryandra), n = 13 (Isopogon, Petrophile, Stirlingia, Adenanthos), n = 11 (Conospermum, Telopea, Lomatia, Stenocarpus) to n = 10 (Symphionema, Grevillea, Hakea). There are no genera counted so far in Australia with n = 12, a number common to many South African Proteaceae.

Only one example of intrageneric polyploidy in the family is reported, for Persoonia toru A. Cunn. n = 14 by Hair and Beuzenberg (1959), while Venkata Rao (1957) discovered one example of intrageneric difference in number in two species of Orites with n = 14, 15, but in all other members of the family investigated, the chromosome numbers are constant for all species of the one genus, indeed for all the genera in certain tribes, e.g. Banksieae.

Cytological evolution and distribution of the family have been discussed and a scheme representing possible chromosome number relationships drawn up.

© CSIRO 1963

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