Seedling development is described for Chamaesyce hirta, C. hypericifolia, and C. mesembrianthemifolia as discerned by light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Although these species ultimately develop erect to ascending growth habits, epicotyl development is limited to the production of a single pair ofleaves located immediately superjacent to and decussate with the cotyledons. The shoot system develops from one or more buds located in the axils of the cotyledons. In all respects, seedling ontogeny is very similar to that of previously studied prostrate species of Chamaesyce. Evidence from seedling ontogeny thus contradicts a hypothesis concerning homologies of plant form pertinent to the origin of Chamaesyce from Euphorbia that was first articulated by Roeper in 1824. These results support an alternative hypothesis based on proliferation of branches from the cotyledonary node in hypothetical ancestral elements within Euphorbia where this morphology can be found in perennial hemicryptophytes as well as certain annual species.

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Copyright © 1998, Botanical Research Institute of Texas. This article first appeared in Sida: 18:2 (1998), 419-431.

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