Floral development of the synchronous dichogamous species Ziziphus mauritiana, as followed by light and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), was divided into 11 stages using a series of landmark events. Main cellular events happen synchronously in the female and the male structures, such as meiosis in micro- and macrosporocyte cells, tetrad microspore formation and appearance of the functional megaspore cell, and onset of embryo sac differentiation coinciding with mitosis in the microspores. The last stage was characterized by anthesis and continued development of the flower, beginning with anther dehiscence (male phase) and proceeding to the female phase, which was characterized by style elongation. Flowers exhibit synchronous protandrous dichogamy; anthesis takes place in the morning (group A, e.g., clone Q-29) and afternoon (group B, e.g., clone B5/4). Stigma receptivity started after the male phase and occurred synchronously and complementarily with pollen dispersal in the two clones. Pollen viability and production were similar in the two clones, but the pollen diameter of Q-29 was significantly larger than that of B5/4. This study provides the basis for understanding the biological mechanisms regulating floral development, thus expanding the prospects for Z. mauritiana breeding programs and for further molecular and genetic studies of this species.
- Floral organogenesis
- Synchronous dichogamy