Megasporogenesis and female gametophyte development were investigated in ovules of the everbearing strawberry Fragaria x ananassa Duch. cv. Selva. Observations of thin sections revealed that ovule development starts from the formation of a nucellus and coincides in time with the beginning of receptacle overgrowth. The most characteristic feature during nucellus differentiation is the formation of a multicellular archesporium, beginning from at least two cells. Analysis of female gametophyte development indicated that in addition to the meiotic mode, female gametophytes develop by an apomeiotic mode of Antennaria type. Asynchronous development of female gametophytes of different origin occurs. The mature, eight-nucleate, seven-celled female gametophyte of meiotic origin is cylindrical and slightly curved. It occupies the central part of the nucellus. The egg apparatus, consisting of an egg cell and two synergids, is formed in the micropylar part of the female gametophyte; the opposite chalazal pole is occupied by antipodal cells. Besides the ovule in which only one seven-celled female gametophyte finally develops, ovules with a different number of cells were observed to initiate female gametophyte development. Some ovules contain a nucellus with a tetrad of linearly arranged megaspores surrounded by enlarged cells, each of which has the potential to develop into an apomictic female gametophyte. After degeneration of some post-meiotic cells or developmentally advanced female gametophytes, some of the chalazal cells initiated female gametophyte development.
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.
The development of megasporocytes and the functional megaspore formation in Deschampsia antarctica were analyzed with the use of microscopic methods. A single archesporial cell was formed directly under the epidermis in the micropylar region of the ovule without producing a parietal cell. In successive stages of development, the meiocyte was transformed into a megaspore tetrad after meiosis. Most megaspores were arranged in a linear fashion, but some tetrads were T-shaped. Only one of the 60 analyzed ovules contained a cell in the direct proximity of the megasporocyte, which could be an aposporous initial. Most of the evaluated D. antarctica ovules featured monosporic embryo sacs of the Polygonum type. Approximately 30% of ovules contained numerous megaspores that were enlarged. The megaspores were located at chalazal and micropylar poles, and some ovules featured two megaspores - terminal and medial - in the chalazal region, or even three megaspores at the chalazal pole. In those cases, the micropylar megaspore was significantly smaller than the remaining megaspores, and it did not have the characteristic features of functional megaspores. Meiocytes and megaspores of D. antarctica contained polysaccharides that were detectable by PAS-reaction and aniline blue staining. Starch granules and cell walls of megasporocytes, megaspores and nucellar cells were PAS-positive. Fluorescent callose deposits were identified in the micropylar end of the megasporocytes. During meiosis and after its completion, thick callose deposits were also visible in the periclinal walls and in a small amount in the anticlinal walls of megaspores forming linear and T-shaped tetrads. Callose deposits fluorescence was not observed in the walls of the nucellar cells.