Friday November 24th 12:30h – Dr. Paula Elomaa. Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland

“Developmental patterning of head-like inflorescences in Asteraceae”

The inflorescences in the sunflower family (Asteraceae), flower heads or capitula, are iconic examples of geometric beauty found in nature. They may consist of hundreds of florets arranged in regular left- and right-curving spirals whose numbers follow the mathematical Fibonacci series. We have recently resolved the growth dynamics of flower heads in the model plant Gerbera hybrida and shown with DR5 reporter lines how high spiral numbers emerge in the expanding meristem. The molecular data was integrated into a computational model to explain phyllotactic patterning in Asteraceae heads. We have extended our studies to explore how head vasculature is associated with organ phyllotaxis. By applying synchrotron-based micro-CT imaging, we have explored the vascular networks in heads in diverse Asteraceae species. The observed diversity and irregularities of vasculature stand in contrast with the regularity of phyllotactic patterns, confirming that phyllotaxis in heads in not driven by the vasculature.

If anyone is interested in meeting with the speaker, please contact Cristina Ferrandiz (



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