Development of generative structures of polar Caryophyllaceae plants: the Arctic Cerastium alpinum and Silene involucrata, and the Antarctic Colobanthus quitensis

Journal title

Polish Polar Research




vol. 38


No 1

Publication authors


Antarctic ; Arctic ; Cerastium alpinum ; chasmogamous flowers ; cleistogamous flowers ; Colobanthus quitensis ; pollen grains ; seeds ; Silene involucrata

Divisions of PAS

Nauki o Ziemi




The embryology of three polar flowering plants of the family Caryophyllaceae was studied using the methods and techniques of the light, normal and fluorescence microscopes, and the electron microscopes, scanning and transmission. The analyzed species were Colobanthus quitensis of West Antarctic (King George Island, South Shetlands Islands) as well as Cerastium alpinum and Silene involucrata of the Arctic (Spitsbergen, Svalbard). In all evaluated species, flowering responses were adapted to the short Arctic and Australian summer, and adaptations to autogamy and anemogamy were also observed. The microsporangia of the analyzed plants produced small numbers of microspore mother cells that were differentiated into a dozen or dozens of trinucleate pollen grains. The majority of mature pollen grains remained inside microsporangia and germinated in the thecae. The monosporous Polygonum type (the most common type in angiosperms) of embryo sac development was observed in the studied species. The egg apparatus had an egg cell and two synergids with typical polarization. A well-developed filiform apparatus was differentiated in the micropylar end of the synergids. In mature diaspores of the analyzed plants of the family Caryophyllaceae, a large and peripherally located embryo was, in most part, adjacent to perisperm cells filled with reserve substances, whereas the radicle was surrounded by micropylar endosperm composed of a single layer of cells with thick, intensely stained cytoplasm, organelles and reserve substances. The testae of the analyzed plants were characterized by species-specific primary and secondary sculpture, and they contained large amounts of osmophilic material with varied density. Seeds of C. quitensis, C. alpinum and S. involucrata are very small, light and compact shaped.


Polish Academy of Sciences ; Committee on Polar Research




Artykuły / Articles


ISSN 0138-0338 ; eISSN 2081-8262


MOLAU (1993), Relationships between fl owering phenology and life history strategies in tundra plants and, Arctic Antarctic Alpine Research, 25, 391, ; MÜLLER (2011), Germinability of arctic plants is high in perceived optimal conditions but low in the fi eld, Botany, 89, 337, ; MCGRAW (1997), Size and characteristics of a natural seed bank in Antarctica and, Arctic Antarctic Alpine Research, 29, 213, ; PIROŻNIKOW (1993), Populations of Saxifraga oppositifolia in Spitsbergen tundra in different ecological conditions, Polish Polar Research, 14, 355. ; KOLTUNOW (1993), Apomixis : Embryo sac and embryos formed without meiosis or fertilization in ovules, Plant Cell, 5, 1425, ; MASCARENHAS (1989), The male gametophyte of fl owering plants The, Plant Cell, 1, 657, ; WALTON (1982), Floral phenology in the South Georgian vascular fl ora Survey, British Antarctic Bulletin, 55, 11. ; SRINIVASAN (1999), Cold tolerance during early reproductive growth of chickpea ( Cicer arietinum genetic variation in gamete development and func - tion Field, Crops Research, 60, 209, ; RUHLAND (2001), Size and longevity of seed banks in Antarctica and the infl uence of ultraviolet - B radiation on survivorship growth and pigment concentrations of Colobanthus quitensis seedlings Environmental and, Experimental Botany, 45, 143,