To determine the effects of soil phosphorus on pollen production, pollen grain size, phosphate concentration per pollen grain, and the siring ability of pollen, two cultivars of the common zucchini (Cucurbita pepo) were grown under two soil phosphorus conditions in an experimental garden. Overall, soil phosphorus availability had a significant effect on reproductive output through the female function and on traits affecting the male function of plants (staminate flower production, pollen production per flower, and pollen grain size). In addition, pollen produced by plants in the high phosphorus soils had a higher phosphate concentration than pollen produced by plants in the low phosphorus soils. A pollen mixture experiment revealed that pollen produced by plants in the high phosphorus treatment sired significantly more seeds than pollen produced by plants in the low phosphorus treatment. This study showed that growing conditions such as soil phosphorus can influence the size of a pollen grain and its chemical composition, which, in turn, can affect its ability to sire mature seeds.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science
- Cell Biology