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Ellen K. Muchmor and Loverine P. Taylor

Seed set is affected by many factors. One of the most important is the number of pollen grains that germinate on the stigma. Our research has shown that kaempferol (a plant natural product) is required for pollen germination. Pollen lacking kaempferol does not germinate, but this defect can be reversed by adding powdered kaempferol to the stigma at pollination. Within 24 hours of wounding the corolla or stamens of V26, a Petunia inbred, high levels of kaempferol accumulate in the stigma. The requirement for kaempferol in pollen germination, and the high levels that can accumulate in the stigma, suggested that seed set might be enhanced by wounding 24 hours before pollination. We tested this hypothesis in two inbred lines of Petunia, a Petunia outcross, and another solanaceous plant Nicotiana tobacum cv. Samsum. The number of seeds per capsule were correlated with the levels of kaempferol in the stigma in wounded and non-wounded flowers.