Structure of floral nectaries and comparison of reproductive and vestigial organs in the staminate and pistillate flowers of dioecious Silene latifolia (Caryophyllaceae)

Research paper by Jay F. Anderson, Hema S.N. Duddu, Steven J. Shirtliffe, Arthur R. Davis

Indexed on: 21 Dec '18Published on: 11 Sep '18Published in: Botany


Botany, e-First Articles. Silene latifolia Poiret of Eurasia has established in North America, prompting this structural study of its mature unisexual buds and flowers. Floral nectaries, anther and stigma changes, and vestigial reproductive structures were studied using light and scanning electron microscopy. In staminate flowers, anthers dehisced before anthesis and>90% of their pollen was liberated within 36 h. Accumulated in the tubular calyx, nectar descended an anthophore from the stomatal-bearing nectary at the stamen bases. Nectary tissue surrounded the pistillode, a central filamentous organ lacking ovules but tipped by hairs resembling stigmatic papillae. In pistillate flowers, nectar flowed into an inflated calyx. The annular nectary had 10 regularly spaced, stomatal-lined craters and was continuous with the adaxial surfaces of the infertile antisepalous and epipetalous staminodes. Key elements of entomophilous pollination leading to successful sexual reproduction of this invasive species include secondary nectar presentation from disparate floral nectaries that, for pistillate flowers, also incorporate the staminodes; rapid pollen release from anthers; and elongation of papillae by tip growth that enhances each stigma’s receptive surface. Context is also provided for future studies of floral nectary development in this model dioecious species.