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Asynchronous development of stigmatic receptivity in the pear (Pyrus communis; Rosaceae) flower

AuthorsSanzol Sanz, Javier; Rallo, Pilar; Herrero Romero, María CSIC ORCID
KeywordsPollen germination
Pyrus communis
Stigmatic receptivity
Issue DateJan-2003
PublisherBotanical Society of America
CitationAmerican Journal of Botany. 2003;90:78-84
AbstractWhile stigma anatomy is well documented for a good number of species, little information is available on the acquisition and cessation of stigmatic receptivity. The aim of this work is to characterize the development of stigma receptivity, from anthesis to stigma degeneration, in the pentacarpellar pear (Pyrus communis) flower. Stigma development and stigmatic receptivity were monitored over two consecutive years, as the capacity of the stigmas to offer support for pollen germination and pollen tube growth. In an experiment where hand pollinations were delayed for specified times after anthesis, three different stigmatic developmental stages could be observed: (1) immature stigmas, which allow pollen adhesion but not hydration; (2) receptive stigmas, which allow proper pollen hydration and germination; and (3) degenerated stigmas, in which pollen hydrates and germinates properly, but pollen tube growth is impaired soon after germination. This developmental characterization showed that stigmas in different developmental stages coexist within a flower and that the acquisition and cessation of stigmatic receptivity by each carpel occur in a sequential manner. In this way, while the duration of stigmatic receptivity for each carpel is rather short, the flower has an expanded receptive period. This asynchronous period of receptivity for the different stigmas of a single flower is discussed as a strategy that could serve to maximize pollination resources under unreliable pollination conditions.
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