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Chromosome-Numbers in Bromeliaceae

Brown, Gregory K.
Gilmartin, A. J.
Eighty-three chromosome counts are reported for 72 taxa of the Bromeliaceae. Fifty-eight of these counts are the first known chromosome number reports for their respective taxa. A model of chromosomale volution in the Bromeliaceae (n = 25) is presented. The model is parsimonious and consistent with existing data on meiotic chromosome numbers within the family and in the closely related Velloziaceae (n = 9). Two hypothesized paleodiploids (n = 8 and n = 9) hybridized to form a tetraploid that in turn hybridized with the n = 8 lineage. The resultant n = 25 is the extant base number for the family. Two alternative hypotheses could explain the unique extant base number (n = 17) for Cryptanthus: 1) Cryptanthus represents the paleotetra-ploid level, i.e., prior to the second round of hybridization, or 2) the lower number represents the result of a more recent series of aneuploid reductions from n = 25. Given the existence of intergeneric hybrids involving Cryptanthus, an euploid reduction is the more likely interpretation.
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