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Re: Wet Pollen

  • Subject: Re: Wet Pollen
  • From: "Weaver, Bill" <bill.weaver@hp.com>
  • Date: Thu, 21 May 2009 18:54:29 +0000

I can say for sure that not all terrestrial pollen is damaged by immersion in water as it is a very 
common way to pollinate cycads by putting the pollen in water and 'washing' the pollen into the female 

-----Original Message-----
From: aroid-l-bounces@gizmoworks.com [mailto:aroid-l-bounces@gizmoworks.com] On Behalf Of Theodore Held
Sent: Thursday, May 21, 2009 7:09 AM
To: Discussion of aroids
Subject: [Aroid-l] Wet Pollen

Dear Esteemed Botanists,

I have been reading an old Scientific American article entitled "Water-Pollinated Plants" (October 1993), which describes a set of plants that uses water as a vector for pollen transfer over distance.

In the article is the following statement after a description of the discovery of this mechanism by a scientist named Cavolini in 1787:
"Cavolini's discovery was remarkable. Because water causes the pollen of terrestrial plants to burst, botanists had regarded the aquatic environment as inimical to pollination."

Can anyone comment on the notion that water causes terrestrial pollen to burst? My college botany books are silent on the phenomenon. Is this referring to longer-term soaking of pollen, perhaps? Certainly terrestrial pollen, in my experience, frequently comes into contact with water in the form of rain, dew, and lawn sprinklers. Soggy pollen might well be less mobile; but will it actually burst?

I turn to this valued forum for expert advice.

Ted Held

P.S. In case anyone would like a scan of the referenced article, please send me a note, off-list - oppenhauser2001@gmail.com.
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  • References:
    • Wet Pollen
      • From: Theodore Held <oppenhauser2001@gmail.com>

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