Pollen tube growth and early ovule development following self- and cross-pollination in Eucalyptus nitens
Pound, LM and Wallwork, MAB and Potts, BM and Sedgley, M, Pollen tube growth and early ovule development following self- and cross-pollination in Eucalyptus nitens, Sexual Plant Regulations, 16, (2) pp. 59-69. ISSN 0934-0882 (2003) [Refereed Article]
Controlled self- and cross-pollinations were conducted on flowers of five mature Eucalyptus nitens trees. Levels of self-sterility of the trees ranged from 25.8 to 93.6%. Pollen tube numbers in styles and ovule penetration by pollen tubes was investigated 2 weeks after pollination by fluorescence microscopy. There were no significant differences between treatments in the number of pollen tubes present in styles or in the percentage of ovules penetrated by pollen tubes. Embryology of material harvested 2 and 4 weeks after pollination was investigated by bright-field microscopy. Fertilisation had taken place by 2 weeks after pollination with nearly every ovule showing evidence of fertilisation. Cross-pollination resulted in a greater proportion of healthy, developing ovules, at both 2 and 4 weeks after pollination, compared with self-pollination. The proportion of degenerating ovules increased from 2 to 4 weeks after pollination. The reduced ability of E. nitens to set self-pollinated seed compared with cross-pollinated seed appears to be controlled by a post-zygotic mechanism. Differences in ovule size may potentially assist in the identification of trees incapable of setting self-pollinated seed.