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Heterodichogamy, Pollen Viability, and Seed Set in a Population of Polyploidy Cyclocarya Paliurus (Batal) Iljinskaja (Juglandaceae)

Co-Innovation Centre for Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, College of Forestry, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China
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Forests 2019, 10(4), 347; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10040347
Received: 21 February 2019 / Revised: 7 April 2019 / Accepted: 17 April 2019 / Published: 19 April 2019
Research Highlights: Cyclocarya paliurus, native to the subtropical region of China, is a monoecious species with a heterodichogamous mating system. Its flowering phenology and low seed success characteristics differ from other typical heterodichogamous Juglandaceae species. This could be caused by the existence of polyploidy in the population. Background and Objectives: C. paliurus has been attracting more attention as a result of its medicinal value. To meet the needs for leaf harvest, cultivation expansion is required, but this is limited by a shortage of seeds. This study aims to profile the flowering phenology and the efficacy of pollen dispersal as well as elucidate on the mechanism of low seed success in the population. Materials and Methods: The flowering phenology pattern of C. paliurus was observed in a juvenile plantation containing 835 individuals of 53 families from 8 provenances at the individual (protandry, PA and protogyny, PG) and population levels for 5 consecutive years (2014–2018). Slides with a culture medium of 10% sucrose and 0.01% boric acid were used to estimate pollen density and viability in the population, and seeds were collected from 20 randomly selected PA and PG individuals to assess seed success during 2017–2018. Results: Four flowering phenotypes and strongly skewed ratios of PA/PG and male/female occurred in the juvenile population. Sexual type and ratio changed significantly with the growth of the population over the years, showing an increasing monoecious group (11.1% to 57.2%) and a decreasing unisexual group (33.6% to 16.3%), as well as a tendency for the sexual ratio to move towards equilibrium (5.42:1 to 1.39:1 for PG:PA). Two flowering phases and bimodality in gender were displayed, as in other heterodichogamous species. However, the high overlap of inter-phases and within individuals was quite different from many previous reports. Owing to the low pollen viability of C. paliurus (~30%), low seed success was monitored in the plantation, as well as in the investigated natural populations. Conclusions: Female-bias (PG and F) and a skewed ratio of mating types corresponded to nutrient accumulation in the juvenile population. Heterodichogamy in C. paliurus was verified, but was shown to be different from other documented species in Juglandaceae. The latest finding of major tetraploidy in a natural population could explain the characteristics of the flowering phenology and seed set of C. paliurus and also give rise to more questions to be answered. View Full-Text
Keywords: protogyny (PG); protandry (PA); pollen viability; seed success; polyploidy protogyny (PG); protandry (PA); pollen viability; seed success; polyploidy
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Mao, X.; Fu, X.-X.; Huang, P.; Chen, X.-L.; Qu, Y.-Q. Heterodichogamy, Pollen Viability, and Seed Set in a Population of Polyploidy Cyclocarya Paliurus (Batal) Iljinskaja (Juglandaceae). Forests 2019, 10, 347.

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