In-depth investigation of any developmental process in plants requires knowledge of both the underpinning molecular networks and how they directly determine patterns of cell division and expansion over time. Floral meristems (FMs) produce floral organs, after which they undergo floral meristem termination (FMT); precise control of organ initiation and FMT is crucial to the reproductive success of any flowering plant. Using live confocal imaging, we characterized developmental dynamics during floral organ primordia initiation and FMT in Aquilegia coerulea (Ranunculaceae). Our results uncover distinct patterns of primordium initiation between stamens and staminodes compared with carpels, and provide insight into the process of FMT, which is discernable based on cell division dynamics that precede carpel initiation. To our knowledge, this is the first quantitative live imaging of meristem development in a system with numerous whorls of floral organs, as well as an apocarpous gynoecium. This study provides crucial information for our understanding of how the spatial-temporal regulation of floral meristem behavior is achieved in both evolutionary and developmental contexts.

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