Gynostemium micromorphology and pollination in Epipactis microphylla (Orchidaceae)
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- Bonatti, P.M., Sgarbi, E. & Del Prete, C. J Plant Res (2006) 119: 431. doi:10.1007/s10265-006-0001-z
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Self-pollination conditions have been recorded frequently in local populations of the genus Epipactis, and structural modifications have sometimes been reported, supporting taxonomic recognition of new species. As part of a survey of gynostemium micromorphology of Italian Epipactis populations, we studied an Apennine population of Epipactis microphylla (Ehrh.) Sw. a species listed as autogamous but with residual allogamous characters. In this population we observed the tendency to perform pre-anthesis cleistogamy. However, self-pollination was not a consequence of modification in column morphology. Cryptic pollen germination occurred in anther thecae or in the clinandrium, bypassing any contact with the receptive stigma. Pollen germination started from the distal pool of the pollinium, close to the rostellum-viscidium, suggesting that the rostellum-viscidium may have a function in promoting pollen-tube growth. Germinated pollen was exposed at the anthesis.