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Pollen-Stigma Interaction in the Leguminosae: Stigma Organization and the Breeding System in Vicia faba L.
, Heslop-Harrison Y.
Annals of Botany
, 1984. V. 54. No. 6. P. 827–836
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Oxford University Press · firstname.lastname@example.org
As in other papilionoid Leguminosae, the receptive surface of the stigma of Vicia faba L. is invested by a detached cuticle. This cuticle, the so-called 'stigma membrane' of plant breeding literature, is lifted away from the epidermis during development by the accumulation of a lipid-rich secretion released into the intercellular spaces of the stigma head by the epidermal cells and the underlying three to four cell layers. The cuticle is thickened over the prominences left by the epidermal papillae, thinning out between. Pollen, whether self or cross, cannot hydrate and germinate in contact with the intact stigma surface, but must await the disruption of the cuticle and the release of the retained secretion. In most genotypes this takes place only when the flower is tripped by visiting pollinators or in consequence of severe agitation by wind. A comparison of lines differing in their degree of autofertility in field conditions has revealed various differences in stigma structure. A highly autofertile line had low papillae at the receptive tip, with a relatively thin intervening cuticle, while an autosterile line had longer papillae and a thicker cuticle. A line with partial autofertility was intermediate in these characteristics. These properties of the stigma surface, together with other differences in flower structure, are probably adequate to account for the variation in the degree of autosterility, since no evidence was obtained suggesting the presence of an effective physiological self-incompatibility system in any of the lines studied. Since the rupturing of the stigma cuticle is affected by the turgor pressure of the cells of the stigma and style, some degree of environmental interaction is to be expected: autofertility should be at the highest in conditions of adequate water supply, and lowest where there is water deprivation.