Generative reproduction of Antarctic grasses, the native species Deschampsia antarctica Desv. and the alien species Poa annua L.
The embryology of two species, Deschampsia antarctica, a native species, and Poa annua, an alien species in the Antarctic we studied. Flowering buds of plants growing in their natural habitats on King George Island and generative tissues of both plant species grown in a greenhouse were analyzed. Adaptations to autogamy and anemogamy were observed in the flower anatomy of both species. The microsporangia of the evaluated grasses produce a small number of three-celled pollen grains. Numerous pollen grains do not leave the microsporangium and germinate in the thecae. Deschampsia antarctica and P. annua plants harvested in Antarctica developed a particularly small number of microspores in pollen chambers. In D. antarctica, male gametophytes were produced at a faster rate: generative cells in pollen did not become detached from the wall of the pollen grain, they were not embedded in the cytoplasm of vegetative cells, and they divided into two sperm cells situated close to the wall. The monosporous Polygonum type of embryo sac development was observed in the studied species. The egg apparatus had typical polarization, and the filiform apparatus did not develop in synergids. Large antipodals with polyploidal nuclei were formed in the embryo sacs of D. antarctica and P. annua. Poa annua was characterized by numerous antipodal cells which formed antipodal tissue in the chalazal region of the embryo sac. Three distinct antipodals with atypical, lateral position in the vicinity of the egg apparatus were observed in D. antarctica. The diaspores of the investigated grass species were characterized by small size, low weight and species-specific primary and secondary sculpture of the testa and caryopsis coat.