Morphology of Anemone sylvestris L. flower (Ranunculaceae)

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Abstract

During the monitoring of populations of Anemone sylvestris L. (Ranunculaceae), a protected species in Poland, we found that the seed set is impaired. The flower is considered an adaptation that has coevolved to achieve effective pollination and successful fertilization. Therefore we have focused on the morphological and anatomical characteristics of the flowers of A. sylvestris L. as a prelude to the study of the species’ pollination biology and plant breeding system. The large size of the flower (50.6 ± 16.4 mm in dimensions) and its bowl shape fulfil both the biotic pollination syndrome and the aerodynamic requirements for pollen dispersal and capture. The opening and closing of the perianth provide a shelter for beetles. The odourless perianth, absence of nectar, scarcity of pollen (approximately 200 000 pollen grains per flower) and its traits - small size (axis P = 18.52 ± 1.0 μm; E = 16.59 ± 0.9 μm), lack of balsam on the exine surface, starch accumulation in more than 95% of pollen grains correspond to the specialization in anemophily. The stigma is papillous, the dense hairs are situated between single carpels indicating adaptation to capturing dry pollen and specialization in the wind pollination syndrome. The flower of A. sylvestris is an example for an intermediate form between entomophily and anemophily, i.e. a secondary and more advanced feature among Ranunculaceae.

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