Germinating pollen

Barry Meatyard B.T.Meatyard at
Mon Jan 10 04:23:53 EST 2000

Dear All,

Happy New Year!

In response to Diane Robertson's enquiry re pollen germination there is a
worksheet on the SAPS website at

It's fairly obvious how to navigate through the site to get this worksheet.

I use Rapid Cycling Brassica pollen in our SAPS workshops for teachers and
it never fails. Also good is pollen from members of the Liliaceae - the
European bluebell (Hyacinthoides (formerly Endymion) non-scriptus) works
well and recently I discovered by chance that the little alpine hyacinth
Puschkinia gives spectacular results. You can almost watch it grow. I've
heard similar reports for the big white 'funereal' lily (L.longiflorum),
which, once it gets started, can be tracked across the field of view. I
used to use a cctv system and mark the progress of the tube in felt tip on
the monitor screen. If the size is calibrated you can do all sorts of
interesting calculations on rate of increase of cell volume. If people pick
this up and run with it what about investigating the role of Calcium ions
in pollen tube growth?

The main trick of the trade is to select anthers that have recently
dehisced and to use pollen from different flowers (of the same species).
This is because the 'window of opportunity' for germination is very narrow.

Happy pollinating.


Dr.Barry Meatyard
Science and Plants for Schools
Environmental Sciences Research and Education Unit
Warwick Institute of Education
University of Warwick

Email: barry.meatyard at
Tel: 44 (0) 2476 524228
Fax: 44 (0) 2476 523237

SAPS is at


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