Tanacetum vulgare L. (Asteraceae, common name Tansy) is native to temperate Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It has many horticultural and pharmacological qualities. Tansy can be cultivated, and it also grows spontaneously. It has been introduced to other parts of the world and in some areas has become invasive. Also, Tansy is used in companion planting and for biological pest control and sustainable agriculture. It is planted alongside potatoes to repel the Colorado potato beetle with one study finding that Tansy reduced beetle populations by 60% to 100% (Schearer, 1984). The oil of T. vulgare when rubbed on skin has been reported to repel insects (Grieve, 1971). In moderate doses, the plant and its essential oil are stomachic and cordial and they are used as a food additive (Grieve, 1971). Mikulášová and Vaverková (2009) have reported that essential oils from Tansy possess antibacterial and antiyeast activity.
T. vulgare is principally used in traditional Asian and North African medicine as an antihelminthic, carminative, antispasmodic, stimulant to abdominal viscera, tonic, emmenagogue, antidiabetic, diuretic and is antihypertensive (Stevović et al., 2009).
The family Asteraceae is a typical example of a eupalynous group and most of its genera possess trizonocolporate pollen (Sachdeva and Malik, 1986). The pollen grains of Asteraceae have been characterized as basically helianthoid, spherical or slightly flattened, tricolporate, and echinate (Skvarla et al., 1977; Wodehouse, 1935). In vitro pollen germination and pollen tube growth are greatly influenced by different factors. For example, addition of sucrose to the germination medium improved in vitro pollen germination frequency and tube growth by preventing tube bursting (Alcaraz et al., 2011; Geetha et al., 2004). Pollen of flowering plants is either binucleate or trinucleate. Compared with binucleate pollens, trinucleate pollens are known to have a rapid germination rate but short viability (Brewbaker, 1967).
The generative nucleus of binucleate pollen divides in the pollen tube after germination to form two sperm nuclei, whereas that of trinucleate pollen divide in the anther before pollen is shed (Sugiura et al., 1998). Among the 2000 species surveyed by Brewbaker (1967), 70% were found to be binucleate and the remainder trinucleate. Also, among the 265 families, 179 had binucleate genera, 54 had trinucleate genera, and 32 had both types of genera (Brewbaker, 1967). Pollen development and morphology are often used by paleobotanists and taxonomists to clarify the identity and classification of plant species (Mert, 2009). Ultrastructural observations under scanning electron microscopy help define pollen characteristics such as shape, size, and presence or absence of exines.
Because there are no reports on the pollen morphology of T. vulgare, the present report gives an account of the palynological characters of this species.
Currently, there are no published reports available on Tansy pollen viability.
Knowledge about in vitro germination, tube growth, and nucleus status of T. vulgare pollen is important for understanding the basic characteristics of Tansy pollen and beyond. Therefore, the objectives of the current study were to 1) determine the shape and dimensions; 2) surface morphology and ornamentation; 3) evaluate pollen germination and tube growth of Tansy; 4) assess viability of Tansy pollen; and 5) study pollen nucleus status.
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