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J Plant Res. 2004 Aug;117(4):265-76. Epub 2004 May 29.

Correlation between pollen morphology and pollination mechanisms in the Hydrocharitaceae.

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  • 1Tsukuba Botanical Garden, National Science Museum, 4-1-1 Amakubo, Tsukuba 305-0005, Japan.


The pollen morphology of 11 genera and 11 species of the Hydrocharitaceae and one species of the Najadaceae was studied using scanning and transmission electron microscopies, and the exine structures and sculptures are discussed in relation to pollination mechanisms and the molecular phylogeny. The pollen grains of the Hydrocharitaceae are spherical, inaperturate, and form monads or tetrads, while those of the Najadaceae are elliptical, inaperturate, and form monads. The entomophilous genera Egeria, Blyxa, Ottelia, Stratiotes, and Hydrocharis share pollen grains that have projections like spines or bacula. The anemophilous genus Limnobium has reticulate pollen grains. The hypohydrophilous genera Thalassia and Najas are characterized by pollen grains with reduced exine structures. The pollen-epihydrophilous genera Elodea and Hydrilla have tightly arranged small spinous pollen grains, and the male flower-epihydrophilous genera Enhalus and Vallisneria have reduced reticulate or gemmate exines. Character state reconstruction of the exine structures and sculptures using a molecular phylogenetic tree suggests that variation in the exine is generally correlated with the pollination mechanism; the selective pressures acting on the pollination mechanisms have reduced the exine structure in hypohydrophilous plants and resulted in various exine sculptures that are adapted to the different pollination mechanisms in entomophilous, anemophilous, and pollen-epihydrophilous plants.

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