Pollination Drop in Juniperus communis: Response to Deposited Material
Methods. Branches with female cones close to pollination drop secretion were collected. On the first day of pollination drop exposure, an eyelash mounted on a wooden stick with paraffin was used to collect pollen or silica gel particles, which were then deposited by contact with the drop. Volume changes in pollination drops were measured by using a stereomicroscope with a micrometer eyepiece 3 h after deposition. The volume of non-pollinated control drops was also recorded. On the first day of secretion, drops were also collected for sugar analysis by high-performance liquid chromatography. Key Results. The pollination drop persisted for about 12 d if not pollinated, and formed again after removal for up to four consecutive days. After pollination with viable conspecific pollen, the drop retracted quickly and did not form again. Partial withdrawal occurred after deposition of other biological and non-biological material. Fructose was the dominant sugar; glucose was also present but at a much lower percentage.Conclusions. Sugar analysis confirmed the general trend of fructose dominance in gymnosperm pollination drops. Complete pollination drop withdrawal appears to be triggered by a biochemical mechanism resulting from interaction between pollen and drop constituents. The results of particle deposition suggest the existence of a non-specific, particle-size-dependent mechanism that induces partial pollination drop withdrawal. These results suggest that the non-specific response may decrease the probability of pollen landing on the drop, reducing pollination efficiency.