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Photographer's Note

Each pollen grain contains vegetative cells (only one in most flowering plants but several in other seed plants) and a generative cell containing a tube nucleus (that produces the pollen tube) and a generative nucleus (that divides to form the two sperm cells). The group of cells is surrounded by a cellulose cell wall and a thick, tough outer wall made of sporopollenin.

Pollen is produced in the microsporangium (contained in the anther of an angiosperm flower, male cone of a coniferous plant, or male cone of other seed plants). Pollen grains come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and surface markings characteristic of the species (see photomicrograph at right). Most, but certainly not all, are spherical. Pollen grains of pines, firs, and spruces are winged. The smallest pollen grain, that of the Forget-me-not plant (Myosotis sp.), is around 6 µm (0.006 mm) in diameter. The study of pollen is called palynology and is highly useful in paleoecology, paleontology, archeology, and forensics. In angiosperms during flower development the anther is composed of a mass of cells that appear undifferentiated, except for a partially differentiated dermis. As the flower develops, four groups of sporogenous cells form with in the anther, the fertile sporogenous cells are surrounded by layers of sterile cells that grow into the wall of the pollen sac, some of the cells grow into nutritive cells that supply nutrition for the microspores that form by meiotic division from the sporogenous cells. Four haploid microspores are produced from each diploid sporogenous cell called microsporocytes, after meiotic division. After the formation of the four microspores, which are contained by callose walls, the development of the pollen grain walls begins. The callose wall is broken down by an enzyme called callase and the freed pollen grains grow in size and develop their characteristic shape and form a resistant outer wall called the exine and an inner wall called the intine. The exine is made up of a resistant compound called sporopollenin; the intine is made up of cellulose and pectin. The exine is what is preserved in the fossil record.

Pollen grains may have furrows, the orientation of which classify the pollen as colpate or sulcate. The number of furrows or pores helps classify the flowering plants, with eudicots having three colpi (tricolpate), and other groups having one sulcus.[1] [2]

Except in the case of some submerged aquatic plants, the mature pollen-grain has a double wall, a thin delicate wall of unaltered cellulose (the endospore or intine) and a tough outer cuticularized exospore or exine. The exine often bears spines or warts, or is variously sculptured, and the character of the markings is often of value for identifying genus, species, or even cultivar or individual. In some flowering plants, germination of the pollen grain often begins before it leaves the microsporangium, with the generative cell forming the two sperm cells.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: jemima kerr (Lightray) (18)
  • Genre: Miejsca
  • Medium: Kolorowe
  • Date Taken: 2007-08-12
  • Categories: Natura
  • Camera: Cannon S3 IS
  • Na¶wietlenie: f/2.7, 1/320 sekund
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Wersja zdjęcia: Oryginalna wersja
  • Date Submitted: 2007-08-12 11:39
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