Flower opening dynamics, pollen-ovule ratio, stigma receptivity and stigmatic pollen germination (in-vivo) in Chaenomeles speciosa (Sweet) Nakai

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Although Chaenomeles is widely used in horticulture, traditional Chinese medicine, and landscape greening, insufficient research has hindered its breeding and seed selection. This study investigated the floral phenology, floral organ characteristics, palynology, and breeding systems of Chaenomeles speciosa (Sweet) Nakai. The floral characteristics of C. speciosa were observed both visually and stereoscopically. The microstructures of the flower organs were observed using scanning electron microscopy.

Pollen stainability was determined using triphenyl tetrazolium chloride staining. Stigma receptivity was determined using the benzidine-H2O2 method and the post-artificial pollination pollen germination method. The breeding system was assessed based on the outcrossing index and pollen–ovule ratio. The flowers of C. speciosa were bisexual with a flowering period from March to April. The flowering periods of single flowers ranged from 8 to 19 d, and those of single plants lasted 18–20 d. The anthers were cylindrical, with the base attached to the filament, and were split longitudinally to release pollen. The flower had five styles, with a connate base.

The ovaries had five carpels and five compartments. The inverted ovules were arranged in two rows on the placental axis. The stigma of C. speciosa was dry and had many papillary protrusions. In the early flowering stage (1–2 d of flowering), the pollen exhibited high stainability (up to 84.24%), but all stainability was lost at 7 d of flowering. Storage at – 20 °C effectively delayed pollen inactivation. The stigma receptivity of C. speciosa lasted for approximately 7 days, and the breeding system was classified as outcrossing with partial self-compatibility.

Read the entire paper at nature.com

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