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Pollen histochemistry and pollen:ovule ratios in Zingiberaceae
Methods. Freshly open flowers with dehiscing anthers were collected at random from plants growing in natural habitats or in botanical gardens. Presence of lipids or starch in pollen grains was tested by Sudan solution and IKI solution, respectively, and examined under a microscope. To estimate the pollen and ovule numbers per flower, one anther from each bud was carefully dissected and all pollen grains were counted; ovaries were carefully dissected out of each flower and counted. Whenever possible, at least 10–15 buds were used in the determination. Key Results. Thirty-three of all the 37 species examined had starchy pollen. Starch was not found in only four species and lipid was not found in only one species; among the four tribes in subfamily Zingiberoideae, all species of Zingibereae and Globbeae had pollen with no starch, Alpineae and Hedychieae had pollen with and without starch, whereas, all species of subfamily Costoideae had starchy pollen with abundant lipids. The mean pollen : ovule ratios in the members of the Zingiberaceae investigated range from 3·25 ± 1·56 to 616·52 ± 117·83.Conclusions. The pollen nutrition types seemed not related to mating systems. The pollen : ovule ratios in members of the Zingiberaceae with the same breeding system are noticeably lower than those recorded by previous authors. The lower pollen : ovule ratios in this family are presumed to be related to the highly efficient pollination systems, mediated by pollen which can be quite glutinous and the relatively large stigma area. In most of the Alpinia species the anaflexistylous flowers have much larger numbers of pollen grains and higher pollen : ovule ratios than the cataflexistylous flowers. There are significant differences in mean pollen grain numbers and pollen : ovule ratios between different life forms but ovule numbers are approximately the same.