The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 45: S41 - S42 (2001)

Vol 45, Issue S1

Stigmatic cuticle in Hedysarum glomeratum: structure and function

Published: 1 June 2001

MA De las Heras, PJ Hidalgo, JL Ubera

Univ Cordoba, Dept Biol Vegetal, E-14071 Cordoba, Spain; Univ Huelva, Dept Biol Ambiental & Salud Publ, El Carmen, Spain


Plants of Hedysarum glomeratum F.G. Dietrich are self-compatible and fail to set seeds when protected from pollinators although its flowers are homogamous. Nevertheless, the stigma becomes receptive and self-pollination takes places if it is subjected to mechanical damage. In an ultraestructural study, we can appreciate that secretory products of the stigma are held beneath a cuticle even in very mature untouched stigmas. These products are not released to support pollen germination until the cuticle is broken. This mechanical barrier could prevent the spontaneous self-pollination whereas a pollinator does not visit the plant. Only when pollinators visit the flowers, both self and cross-pollination are possible. This mechanical system avoids to a large degree self-pollination in this annual herb.

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