Technique for In Vitro Pollen Germination and Short-term Pollen Storage in Caladium

in HortScience
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  • 1 University of Florida, IFAS, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, 5007 60th Street East, Bradenton, FL 34203

The sporadic nature of inflorescence production and flower protogyny in caladium (Caladium ×hortulanum Birdsey) makes it desirable to store pollen and to rapidly assess its viability for cross-pollinations in breeding programs. This study was conducted to develop a procedure to determine caladium pollen viability and to use that procedure to evaluate the effect of short-term storage conditions on pollen viability. The sucrose level in the culture medium was found to have a significant impact on the in vitro germination of caladium pollen; a concentration of 6.8% was determined to be optimal for pollen germination. Caladium pollen lost viability within 1 day under room (24 °C) or freezing (-20 °C) temperatures, but could be stored at 4 °C for 2 to 4 days. Pollen stored at 4 °C produced successful pollinations. Data obtained from large-scale greenhouse pollinations supported use of this in vitro germination assay as a convenient way to evaluate caladium pollen viability (and fertility).