Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas L.) is one of the original fruit species of the Anatolian peninsula. They have a small or medium size tree form and the fruit is a stone fruit with one seed. Fruits are similar to sour cherries except the fruit shape, which is rather elliptical. Flowering time is early relative to various other fruit species and occurred in the middle of February. This early flowering is evident in the orchards as a result of its bright yellow flowers.
Taxonomists and paleobotanists considered the importance of pollen development and morphology in clarifying the classification and identity of many plant species, e.g., peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch], nectarine [Prunus persica var. nectarina (Ait.) Maxim.], sweet cherry [Prunus avium (L.) L.], European plum (Prunus domestica L.) (Fogle, 1977a), olive (Olea europaea L.) (Javady and Arzani, 2001; Lanza et al., 1996), apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) (Currie et al., 1997; Fogle, 1977b), and chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) (Mert and Soylu, 2007). Pollen grains are the male gametophytes and take part in the reproductive biology. Fruit set is also dependent mainly on the fertilization process in the cornelian cherry cultivars. For this reason, the viability and/or sterility of the pollen grains is of great importance in the fruit set of these cultivars (Mert and Soylu, 2006).
The features and anatomy of normal and abnormal pollen grains have shown great variation in various fruit and plant species. Many researchers have investigated the definition and characterization of pollen grains with respect to their abnormalities (Abreu et al., 2006; De Vries and Ie, 1970; McCreight, 1984; Mert and Soylu, 2007; Radice et al., 2008). Shape, size, surface morphology, and ultrastructure of pollen grains are of great importance in characterization of the pollen grains (Currie et al., 1997; Fogle, 1977a; Martens and Fretz, 1980; Mert and Soylu, 2007).
Structural characteristics of the pollen grains of many fruit species have been described in previous studies (Arzani et al., 2005; Currie et al., 1997; Fogle, 1977a, 1977b; Javady and Arzani, 2001; Lanza et al., 1996; Martens and Fretz, 1980; Mert and Soylu, 2007; Westwood and Challice, 1978). However, no prior literature exists on the surface morphology and ultrastructure of the pollen grain of cornalian cherry. The present study represents the first report on this subject. The aim of this study was to determine the shape, dimensions, anatomical structure, and surface morphology of the pollen grains of some cornelian cherry cultivars native to the Anatolian peninsula.
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