Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 210, Issue 1, pp 113-139

First online:

Pollen morphology and functional dioecy inSolanum (Solanaceae)

  • Sandra KnappAffiliated withDepartment of Botany, The Natural History Museum
  • , Viveca PerssonAffiliated withDepartment of Botany, The Natural History Museum
  • , Stephen BlackmoreAffiliated withDepartment of Botany, The Natural History Museum

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Dioecy has evolved independently several times in the large, mostly tropical genusSolanum. In all cases of dioecy inSolanum functionally male flowers have normal anthers, normal pollen and reduced stigmas while functionally female flowers have stigmas and anthers that appear normal but contain non-functional, usually inaperturate pollen. The inaperturate pollen has living cytoplasm, but apparently never germinates and it has been hypothesised that the pollen in these functionally female flowers is retained as a pollinator reward. Pollen morphology is compared in twelve of the thirteen known dioecious species ofSolanum, and some stages in the the development of inaperturate pollen in the anthers of functionally female flowers ofSolanum confertiseriatum of Western Ecuador are examined. Observations on the development and morphology of inaperturate pollen in functionally female flowers ofSolanum are related to hypotheses about the evolution of dioecy in the genus.

Key words

Solanaceae Solanum Evolution male sterility breeding system dioecy inaperturate pollen pollen development palynology plant reproduction