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Mode of pollen tube growth in pistils of Ticodendron incognitum (Ticodendraceae, Fagales) and the evolution of chalazogamy




Ticodendron incognitum is the sole species of the Ticodendraceae, which was established as a new family in the Fagales less than 20 years ago. Considering the diverse modes of pollen tube growth observed in other Fagales, we investigated the growth of pollen tubes in the pistil of Ticodendron. At the time of pollination, Tincognitum had four immature ovules in a bilocular ovary, thus exhibiting delayed fertilization, as in other Fagales. During the period when fertilization was delayed, pollen tube growth in the pistil was intermittent, consisting of five steps associated with development of the ovules and embryo sacs. Four cessation sites occurred: in the style, in the tissue of the upper part of the ovary, inside and outside of the funicle and at the chalaza. A single pollen tube eventually reaches a mature embryo sac through the chalaza in one of the four ovules. While both delayed fertilization and intermittent pollen tube growth play a role in male and female gametophyte selection, as in other Fagales, the five-step process of pollen tube growth through the chalaza (i.e. chalazogamy) is characteristic of lineages of the Casuarinaceae, Ticodendraceae and Betulaceae (the latter with the loss of one step). © 2008 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2008, 157, 621–631.