Tagged: pollen



‘Two households, both alike …’? How differences between sexes varies with time in flowering plants

‘Two households, both alike in dignity’ is famously the opening line of Romeo & Juliet. How alike houses Montague and Capulet actually are is debatable, but what is clear is that plants with two households can be very different. Plants? Two households? What? Well, around 6% of plant species are dioecious (from the Greek for two houses or two households). This is to say that ‘male’ and ‘female’ sexual organs are split between different individuals, and there are therefore separate male and female plants. The comparative rarity of this in plants is in stark contrast to animals, the vast majority...

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Ant on a flowerhead

Ant pollination in Brazilian savanna

Ant–plant associations are widely diverse and distributed throughout the world, leading to complex ecological networks. Regarding ant–plant mutualism, ant pollination is a very rare interaction and few studies have shown the role of ants as pollinators. Del-Claro et al. aimed to evaluate the role of ants as effective pollinators of Paepalanthus lundii (Eriocaulaceae) in a Brazilian savanna. The authors observed a relationship between seed production and ant visits; Camponotus crassus was the most frequent floral visitor and the most effective pollinator. Also, they observed a statistical difference between the numbers of male and female flowers produced, with a greater number...

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Yew

Limited seed and pollen gene dispersal in Taxus baccata

Dispersal is crucial due to its direct impact on dynamics of a species’ distribution as well as having a role in shaping adaptive potential through gene flow. In plants forming scarce and small populations, knowledge about the dispersal process is required to assess the potential for colonizing new habitats and connectivity of present and future populations. Using molecular data and the modelling approach, Chybicki and Oleksa estimate dispersal potential in Taxus baccata (Taxaceae), a dioecious tree with a highly fragmented distribution. They find that yew seeds travel shorter distances than pollen, facilitating a rapid development of a kinship structure within...

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Glycoprotein distribution in the apple pistil during the progamic phase.

Glycoprotein secretions and pollen tube kinetics in apple

The obturator bridges the downward transit of the pollen tube through style to ovary in many angiosperms. Examining pollen tube growth kinetics in the pistil in Malus × domestica and relating these to changes occurring on the obturator using histochemistry and immunocytochemistry in order to determine how the key access point of the obturator is mediated, Losada and Herrero show that glycoprotein secretion is required for a lightning pollen tube wall elongation on the surface of the obturator. This secretion is depleted following on from the passage of pollen tubes, which strongly suggests that glycoprotein secretion has a pivotal role...

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The Sex Lives of Plants Laid Bare

Flora Unveiled: The Discovery and Denial of Sex in Plants. Lincoln Taiz and Lee Taiz. Oxford University Press, 2017. Living in the 21st century with easy access to knowledge – and its various fake versions – on the internet and our seeming sophistication and all-knowingness, it’s hard to appreciate times gone by when we humans knew so much less. Take for instance the notion that plants engage in sexual reproduction. This truth seems so commonplace and widely known nowadays that to imagine a time when this was quite a heretical concept is almost unimaginable. But, that’s what Taiz and Taiz’s...

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Preparation of pollen derived carbon microstructure via solid state pyrolysis of two distinct pollen sources.

Botanotechnoinspirationals

This item concerns uses of botanical bits-and-pieces in ways that Nature never intended. But having also brought forth Man, that natural entity has given that creation’s ingenuity free rein and he has come up with some weird and wonderful reimaginings of botanical structures. Exhibit 1, pollen as a more environmentally-sympathetic alternative to graphite in lithium batteries. Environmental and health concerns about the use of lithium batteries aside (though they are numerous), if we’re going to have them, then we may as well make them as ‘green’ as we can. Currently [pun intended..?] such batteries use graphite as their anode, which...

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Models for the acceptance of compatible pollen and the rejection of self-incompatible pollen in Arabidopsis species.

Hanging On To Your Date, Avoiding Incest And Not Getting Infected – All In A Day’s Work For Flowers Of The Mustard Family

In the mustard family, which includes the important crop Brassica (rapeseed/canola) and the model plant Arabidopsis, the surfaces of the female stigmatic cells are dry. These cells – on which the pollen grains land – are thought to be more advanced than those of the wet stigmas of many other plants because they do not trap fungal spores (or pollen grains of many other species), and can discriminate between self and cross pollen of their own species and thus avoid self-pollination. The evolution of these stigmas has, however, involved the development of a good deal of complex cell biology –...

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