Pollen Quantity and Viability in 65 Litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) Cultivars

in HortScience

The characteristics of litchi pollen have drawn increasing attention in recent years. Previous studies indicated that there are significant differences in the quantity and viability of litchi pollen grains among different varieties and flowering stages. Moreover, the same variety may show a different quantity of pollen grains and viability in different years. There is still a lack of systematic studies on the change of pollen germination rate and pollen amount in different varieties and at different flowering stages. In this study, the changes in the germination rate of pollen at different development stages were studied. It was primarily revealed that the pollen germination rate already approached its peak upon the filament extends fully, but the anther does not dehisce the developmental stage. In 2009 and 2010, the viability and number of pollen grains per anther were investigated in 65 litchi cultivars, and a difference was observed among cultivars. The pollen germination rate ranged between 20.14% (‘Wuchali’) and 54.69% (‘Donlongmili’). The number of pollen grains per anther ranged between 1555 (‘Zhongshanzhuangyuanhong’) and 7455 (‘Houye’). Sixty-five litchi cultivars were classified into six clusters based on the pollen quantity and germination rate. Most litchi cultivars can produce large amounts of viable and compatible pollen grains during the flowering period. Thus, our results indicate that the pollen amount and germination rate might not be the only factors restricting the successful pollination of litchi.

Contributor Notes

This study was supported by the National Litchi & Longan Industry Technology System-Germplasm Resources Evaluation Posts (CAR-33-01), National Infrastructure for Crop Germplasm Resources (NICGR 2016-53), Crop Germplasm Resources Protection (1120162130135252017), and the Litchi Germplasm Resources Protection (16RZZY-05).

These authors contributed equally to this work.

Corresponding author. E-mail: gdglxo2015@126.com.

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    (A) Litchi male flowers in the first stage, the anther extended just beyond the receptacle, and the filaments were not observed. (B) Litchi male flowers in the second stage, the filament is extended to half of its overall length. (C) Litchi male flowers in the third stage, the filament extends fully, but the anther does not dehisce. (D) Litchi male flowers in the last stage, the filament extends fully, and the anther dehisces.

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