I am investigating the evolution of cauliflory (flowers/fruits woody stems or branches) within three plant families (Annonaceae, Bignoniaceae, Moraceae). Cauliflory is an important inflorescence architecture of the tropical rainforest understory and has evolved in parallel across many lineages. I will report on progress to date for phylogenetic, anatomical, and ecological aspects of cauliflory. Trends in evolutionary pathways will be discussed in the context of Malagasy Bignoniaceae (Coleeae). The goal of this project is to tease apart the extent which phylogeny is involved in the multiple independent expression of inflorescences on wood, and in what way this trait evolved in association with other traits.

Key words: Annonaceae, Bignoniaceae, cauliflory, Ficus, homology, inflorescence evolution