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Studies in the cytology and physiology of pollen.

Fitter, Rosalind M 1974 , 'Studies in the cytology and physiology of pollen.', Unspecified thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The structure and function of pollen have long been subjects of
curiosity and speculation. Even before the concept of sexuality in plants
was generally accepted (see Wodehouse, 1935), natural scientists such as
Nehemiah Grew and Marcello Malpighi had recorded observations on pollen
morphology and hinted at some possible functions of pollen. Wodehouse
(1935) quotes from Grew's "Anatomy of Plants", published in 1682, and from
Malpighi's Opera omnia (1687), pointing out the comparatively high degree
of accuracy in their descriptions of pollen, but at the same time
revealing their uncertainty at its "higher purpose". A few sentences from
these works serve to illustrate attitudes to botanical investigation at
that time. Describing pollen grains, Grew says:
"The Particles of these powders, though like those of Meal or
Dust, they appear not easily to have any regular shape; yet upon strict
observation, especially with the assistance of an indifferent Glass, it
doth appear, that they are a Congeries, usually of so many perfect Globes
or Globulets; sometimes of other Figure, but always regular. That which
obscures their Figure is their being so small: In Dogs-Mercury, Borage,
and very many other Plants, they are extremely so. In Mallows, and some
others, more fairly visible.
"The Colour of these small particles contained in the Theca is
also different. But as that is usually white or yellow, so are these:
sometimes Blewish; but never Red. And sometimes not of the same Colour
with that of the Theca. Which further shows how scrupulous Nature is in
differentiating the Tincture of the several parts."
Although not as detailed, Malpighi's descriptions were
essentially similar to those of Grew. However, he tended to interpret

the function of pollen in terms of human physiology:
"The pollen dust is likewise a mere secretion.. .prior to the
.maturation of the ovum.. .and may be compared perhaps to the menstrual
discharge of women."
Few advances in the study of pollen were made during the next
century and a half. Further work was forced to wait upon improvements in
microscopy made towards the turn of the eighteenth century.

Item Type: Thesis - Unspecified
Authors/Creators:Fitter, Rosalind M
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1974 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Dept. of Botany M.Sc. (qual.) reading Thesis, 1974

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