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Anther opening, pollen biology and stigma receptivity in the long blooming species, Parietaria judaica L. (Urticaaceae)

Franchi, G.G., Nepi, M., Matthews, M.L., Pacini, E.
Flora 2007 v.202 no.2 pp. 118-127
fertilization (reproduction), Parietaria judaica, plant reproduction, sexual reproduction, flowering, anthers, pollen germination, flowers, developmental stages, stigma, pollination, Italy
Background and aims: This paper is about pollen ecophysiology, anther opening, pollen dispersal and the timing of the male and female phases in Parietaria judaica (Urticaceae). Methods: Ecophysiological (effects of different relative humidities (RHs) and osmotic relationships) and cytological methods (stigmatic receptivity, pollen viability, histology and histochemistry) were used to determine pollen and pollination features during the long blooming period of this species. Key results: Pollen is dispersed by rapid uncurling of the filament and anther opening. The filament and anther lack cells with lignified wall thickenings, which are usually responsible for anther opening and ballistic pollen dispersal. Instead, dispersal is the result of the sudden movement of the filament. Pollen is of the partially hydrated type, i.e. with a water content greater than 30% at shedding, and readily loses water, and hence viability, at low RH. Pollen carbohydrate reserves differ with season. Starchless grains germinate quickly and are less subject to water loss. Flowers are protogynous, pollen release occurring only after complete cessation of the female phase within an inflorescence. Conclusion: Parietaria has partially hydrated pollen which differs from typical pollen of this type because of its reduced size and the absence of callose. Because of its low water content at the time of shedding it survives better at higher RH. Dispersal and pollination are adapted to pollen features.