Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 222, Issue 1, pp 113–132

Pollen viability and longevity: Practical, ecological and evolutionary implications

  • A. Dafni
  • D. Firmage

DOI: 10.1007/BF00984098

Cite this article as:
Dafni, A. & Firmage, D. Pl Syst Evol (2000) 222: 113. doi:10.1007/BF00984098


The present article reviews the various definitions and terminology of pollen viability and longevity as well as the various tests of its assessment. We compare the advantages and the disadvantages of each method and suggest some practical implications as revealed by the extensive data. We recognize eight main hypotheses concerning the ecology and the evolution of pollen longevity and critically evaluated them according to the literature. The hypotheses are grouped as follows: (1) Desiccation risk-carbohydrate content; (2) Pollen packaging; (3) Pollen competitive ability; (4) Pollinator activity-stigma receptivity duration; (5) Self-pollination chance; (6) Pollen exposure schedule; (7) Pollen travel distance, and (8) Pollen removal chance.

Key words

Pollen longevity desiccation viability stigma receptivity 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Dafni
    • 1
  • D. Firmage
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Pollination Ecology, Institute of EvolutionUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Department of BiologyColby CollegeWatervilleUSA

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