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Abstract

We used cytological and embryological methods to study reproductive cycle stages in Cerasus fruticosa Pall., Cerasus × eminens (Beck) Buia and Cerasus × mohacsyana (Kárpáti) Janchen from SW Slovakia, focusing on development of the male and female reproductive organs, fertilization processes and embryo formation. We found that reproductive potential was reduced by synergistic effects of negative biotic and abiotic factors. Despite the presence of degenerated, deformed pollen grains and their great variability of shape and size, a sufficient amount of normally developed viable pollen grains developed in anthers of C. fruticosa and C. × mohacsyana. Disturbed microsporogenesis in C. × eminens led to significantly lower production of viable pollen grains. We did not observe serious disturbances during megasporogenesis and megagametogenesis. Lower fruit set was caused by degeneration of ovules as a result of unsuccessful pollination, fertilization failure, or embryo degeneration during its initial development.
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Abstract

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.
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