Investigations of some floral vascular systems with particular reference to interpretations involved in the Gonophyll theory : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Botany at Massey University
Throughout the history of Plant Science, the Angiosperm flower has provided botanists with one of their most intriguing structural entities. The number of theories which have been advanced to account for the origin of the flower and for the nature of its component appendages are multitudinous and in large part unproven. In 1960 the British botanist Melville propounded a new theory, the Gonophyll theory, and this has excited considerable interest among floral morphologists. The basic tenets of Melville's interpretation were based on the course taken by vascular bundles, and in an arena still bedevilled by conflicting opinion, the lucid presentation of the Gonophyll theory carried some conviction. The present writer was at the time pursuing an interest in the development of the patterns displayed by vascular tissue in vegetative shoots and did in fact demonstrate an instance in which there was considerable change in vascular pattern during the period of primary trace development (Skipworth 1962). In addition, Tepfer (1953) had reported an instance where some alteration in vasculature of a fertile shoot did take place during the time between anthesis and fruit maturity. From these two reports emanated the suspicion that when they first appear, the strands comprising the vascular system of flowers may not display the relationships apparent at floral maturity.