Self-incompatibility in Cornus florida

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  • 1 Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit, U.S. National Arboretum, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Tennessee State University Nursery Crop Research Station, 472 Cadillac Lane, McMinnville, TN 37110

Low seed set has been reported following self-pollinations of flowering dogwood (Cornus florida L.). The objective of this study was to verify the presence of self-incompatibility in C. florida. `Cherokee Princess' stigmas and styles were collected 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 24, 48, and 72 hours after cross- and self-pollinations, stained with aniline blue and observed using a fluorescence microscope. Pollen germinated freely following self-pollinations, but self-pollen tubes grew slower than those resulting from cross-pollinations. By 48 hours after cross-pollination, pollen tubes had reached the bottom of the style while pollen tubes in self-pollinated flowers had only penetrated the upper third of the style. Evidence of reduced pollen tube growth rate in self-pollinations of `Cherokee Chief' and `Cherokee Brave' was also obtained. This study provides evidence of a gametophytic self-incompatibity system in C. florida. It was also determined that stigmas of C. florida `Cherokee Princess' are receptive to pollen from 1 day prior to anthesis to 1 day after anthesis.

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