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  • AID0090910950
  • DOI10.1093/aob/mch195

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Pseudopollen in Eria Lindl. section Mycaranthes Rchb.f. (Orchidaceae)

Annals of Botany
Annals of Botany
Журнал с антэкологическими публикациями.
Oxford University Press · office@annbot.com

, 2004. V. 94. No. 5. P. 707–715
Background and Aims. Pseudopollen is a whitish, mealy material produced upon the labella of a number of orchid species as labellar hairs either become detached or fragment. Since individual hair cells are rich in protein and starch, it has long been speculated that pseudopollen functions as a reward for visiting insects. Although some 90 years have passed since Beck first described pseudopollen for a small number of Eria spp. currently assigned to section Mycaranthes Rchb.f., we still know little about the character of pseudopollen in this taxon. The use of SEM and histochemistry would re-address this deficit in our knowledge whereas comparison of pseudopollen in Eria (S.E. Asia), Maxillaria (tropical and sub-tropical America), Polystachya (largely tropical Africa and Madagascar) and Dendrobium unicum (Thailand and Laos) would perhaps help us to understand better how this feature may have arisen and evolved on a number of different continents. Methods. Pseudopollen morphology is described using light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Hairs were tested for starch, lipid and protein using IKI, Sudan III and the xanthoproteic test, respectively. Key Results and Conclusions. The labellar hairs of all eight representatives of section Mycaranthes examined are identical. They are unicellular, clavate with a narrow ‘stalk’ and contain both protein and starch but no detectable lipid droplets. The protein is distributed throughout the cytoplasm and the starch is confined to amyloplasts. The hairs become detached from the labellar surface and bear raised cuticular ridges and flaky deposits that are presumed to be wax. In that they are unicellular and appear to bear wax distally, the labellar hairs are significantly different from those observed for other orchid species. Comparative morphology indicates that they evolved independently in response to pollinator pressures similar to those experienced by other unrelated pseudopollen-forming orchids on other continents.

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