- Bowenia Hook. ex Hook.f., Bot. Mag. 89 (1863),
sub t. 5398;
commemorating Sir George F. Bowen (1821-1899),
first governor of Queensland (1859-1868).
- Type: B. spectabilis Hook. ex Hook.f.
A taxonomically isolated genus of two species, endemic in Australia
(eastern Queensland). Both species
are localised in occurrence, although abundant where they occur.
Taxonomic placement of the genus has been problematic, with different
treatments placing it either in a monogeneric family of its own,
or together with
or in the
- Leaves bipinnate
- Leaflets lacking a midrib
- Leaflets not articulated
- Sporophylls in vertical rows in cones
Key to the species.
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- 1 Pinnules entire or a few irregularly lacerate
1. B. spectabilis
1* Pinnules regularly serrate
- 2 Caudex subspherical with 5-20 leaf-bearing branches,
largest leaves with more than 12 pinnae
2* Caudex ovoid to spherical with 1-7 leaf-bearing branches,
largest leaves with less than 11 pinnae
Habit: dioecious fern-like shrubs with a naked subterranean stem
producing one to many short, slender, determinate leaf and conebearing
branches, sometimes themselves branched. New leaves emerging singly.
Leaves: bipinnate, longitudinal ptyxis circinate, horizontal ptyxis
involute. Leaflets with circinate ptyxis and often a true terminal
leaflet, lower leaflets not reduced to spines. Petioles lacking spines or prickles.
lacking a midrib, with numerous subparallel longitudinal veins
and stomata on both surfaces, individual ptyxis flat. Leaves pubescent,
at least when young, with coloured or transparent, unbranched
Microsporophylls: spirally orthostichous, aggregated into male cones and each with a simple,
peltate sterile apex, which is not produced into a terminal spine.
Each microsporophyll bearing numerous microsporangia (pollen-sacs)
on the undersurface. Microsporangia opening by slits. Pollen cymbiform,
monosulcate. Male cones stalked, ovoid.
Megasporophylls: spirally orthostichous, aggregated into female cones. Sporophylls simple,
with a dilated peltate apex or lamina which is not produced into
a terminal spine. Ovules two (rarely three), sessile, orthotropous,
inserted on the inner (axisfacing) surface of the thickened lamina
and directed inwards ("inverted"). Female cones stalked
but not elevated above soil surface, ovoid to globose; sporophylls
in about 8 ranks, the expanded ends hexagonal.
Seeds: subglobular to ovoid, with a white aging
to purple sarcotesta. Endosperm haploid, derived from the
female gametophyte. Embryo straight; with 2 cotyledons that are
usually united at the tips and a very long, spirally twisted suspensor.
Seeds radiospermic; germination cryptocotular.