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  Wet Pollen
From: Theodore Held <oppenhauser2001 at gmail.com> on 2009.05.21 at 14:09:06(19343)
Dear Esteemed Botanists,

I have been reading an old Scientific American article entitled
“Water-Pollinated Plants” (October 1993), which describes a set of
plants that uses water as a vector for pollen transfer over distance.

In the article is the following statement after a description of the
discovery of this mechanism by a scientist named Cavolini in 1787:
“Cavolini’s discovery was remarkable. Because water causes the pollen
of terrestrial plants to burst, botanists had regarded the aquatic
environment as inimical to pollination.”

Can anyone comment on the notion that water causes terrestrial pollen
to burst? My college botany books are silent on the phenomenon. Is
this referring to longer-term soaking of pollen, perhaps? Certainly
terrestrial pollen, in my experience, frequently comes into contact
with water in the form of rain, dew, and lawn sprinklers. Soggy pollen
might well be less mobile; but will it actually burst?

I turn to this valued forum for expert advice.

Ted Held

From: brian lee <lbmkjm at yahoo.com> on 2009.05.21 at 16:42:00(19345)
Dear Ted,


I do not know if terrestrial pollen bursts, but, I have wet pollinated cycads for years with great results. I also wet pollinate Philodendron without a problem. If terrestrial pollen bursts with water, how does one explain all the terrestrial pollen preserved in bogs, etc? Perhaps we need to define burst and narrow the definition of, terrestrial pollen.





From: "Weaver, Bill" <bill.weaver at hp.com> on 2009.05.21 at 18:54:29(19348)
I can say for sure that not all terrestrial pollen is damaged by immersion in water as it is a very
common way to pollinate cycads by putting the pollen in water and 'washing' the pollen into the female

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