A theoretical morphological model for quantitative description of the three-dimensional floral morphology in water lily (Nymphaea)

Shiryu Kirie, Hideo Iwasaki, Koji Noshita, Hiroyoshi Iwata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Water lilies (Nymphaea spp.) have diverse floral morphologies. Water lilies are not only commonly used as ornamental plants, but they are also important for understanding the diversification of basal angiosperms. Although the diversity in floral morphology of water lily provides useful information for evolutionary biology, horticulture, and horticultural science, it is difficult to describe and analyze the three-dimensional morphology of flowers. In this study, we propose a method to describe the floral morphology of water lily using a three-dimensional theoretical morphological model. The theoretical model was constructed based on three components, i.e., (1) the gradual change in size of floral organs, (2) spiral phyllotaxis, and (3) the interpolation of elevation angles, which were integrated into the model. We generated three-dimensional representation of water lily flowers and visualized theoretical morphospaces by varying each morphological parameter. The theoretical morphospace is a mathematical space of morphological spectrum generated by a theoretical morphological model. These morphospaces seems to display the large part of morphological variations of water lily. We measured morphological parameters of real flowers based on our theoretical model and display the occupation pattern of morphological parameters. We also surveyed the relation between morphological parameters and flower shape descriptions found in a catalog. In some parameters, we found breeders' description can link to our morphological model. In addition, the relationship between the global features of floral morphology and the parameters of the theoretical model was calculated with flower silhouettes simulated with a range of parameter values and the global features of the silhouette. We used two simple indices to assess the global morphological features, which were calculated with the convex hull. The results indicated that our method can effectively provide an objective and quantitative overview of the diversity in the floral morphology of water lily.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0239781
JournalPloS one
Issue number10 October
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'A theoretical morphological model for quantitative description of the three-dimensional floral morphology in water lily (Nymphaea)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this