Histological study of post-pollination events in Spathodea campanulata Beauv. (Bignoniaceae), a species with late-acting self-incompatibility.
The reproductive biology of Spathodea campanulata was investigated by means of hand-pollination experiments, observations of pollen tube growth using fluorescence microscopy, and serial sections of ovules in selfed and crossed pistils. Only cross-pollinated flowers developed fruits, and all selfed flowers abscised within 3-4 d. However, self pollen tubes grew successfully to the ovary, penetrating and fertilizing the majority of ovules by 48 h, indicating that S. campanulata is a species with late-acting self-incompatibility. The incidences of ovule penetration, fertilization and endosperm initiation were all significantly slower in selfed vs. crossed pistils, although no other signs of malfunctioning were detected. The possible role of such slow self pollen tube effectiveness as a recognition event is discussed within the context of the slow but not entirely suppressed self pollen tube growth reported for some species with conventional homomorphic self-incompatibility.