Pollen morphology of <i>Prototulbaghia Vosa</i>: A comparative palynological study of the Southern African Alliaceae.
Keywords: Alliaceae, harmomegathy, monosulcate, pollen morphology, perprolate, Prototulbaghia siebertii, reticulate, scanning electron microscope, Southern Africa, folding
AbstractThe� Southern� African� Alliaceae� Borkh.� is� represented� by� four genera (Allium L., Nothoscordum Kunth, Tulbaghia L. and Prototulbaghia Vosa) and 28 species. The� pollen� morphology� of� the� endangered� monotypic� genus Prototulbaghia has� not� been described� before.� A� comparative� study� of� the� pollen� morphology� of Prototulbaghia� siebertii Vosa, Nothoscordum� borbonicum Kunth, Tulbaghia� simmleri P.Beauv.� and T.� violaceae Harv.� is presented in this article. Scanning electron microscopy, as well as light microscopy, were used to examine the pollen. The pollen morphology of the species can be described as perprolate and monosulcate, and the surface sculpture as reticulate and heterobrochate. However, the pollen of Prototulbaghia siebertii displays a unique characteristic as the grains are folded in their breadth with the tips touching, hence causing the grain to display a triangular and disulcate appearance. It might be possible to ascribe this fold to the process of harmomegathy or a still unknown event that occurs during the development of the pollen grain. This phenomenon should be further investigated to determine the cause of folding and whether it is a unique taxonomic� characteristic� of� this� genus,� and� if� it� could� be� of� evolutionary� significance� for the Alliaceae.