The future impact of climate change and a warmer world is a matter of great concern. We therefore aimed to evaluate the effects of temperature on pollen viability and fruit set of Mediterranean orchids. • The in vitro and controlled pollination experiments were performed to evaluate the ability of pollinia stored at lower and higher temperatures to germinate and produce fruits and seeds containing viable embryos. • In all of the examined orchids, pollen stored at 20 °C remained fully viable for up to 3 years, reducing its percentage germination from year 4 onwards. Pollinia stored at higher temperatures had a drastic reduction in vitality after 2 days at 41–44 °C, while pollinia stored at 47–50 °C did not show any pollen tube growth. • The different levels of pollen viability duration among the examined orchids can be related to their peculiar reproductive biology and pollination ecology. The germinability of pollinia stored at lower temperatures for long periods suggests that orchid pollinia can be conserved ex situ. In contrast, higher temperatures can have harmful effects on the vitality of pollen and consequently on reproductive success of the plants. To our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating the effects of global change on orchid pollen, and on pollen ability to tolerate, or not, higher air temperatures. Although vegetative reproduction allows orchids to survive a few consecutive warm years, higher temperatures for several consecutive years can have dramatic effects on reproductive success of orchids.

Pollen viability of Euro-Mediterranean orchids under different storage conditions: The possible effects of climate change

Giuseppe Pellegrino
;
Anna Maria Palermo
2021

Abstract

The future impact of climate change and a warmer world is a matter of great concern. We therefore aimed to evaluate the effects of temperature on pollen viability and fruit set of Mediterranean orchids. • The in vitro and controlled pollination experiments were performed to evaluate the ability of pollinia stored at lower and higher temperatures to germinate and produce fruits and seeds containing viable embryos. • In all of the examined orchids, pollen stored at 20 °C remained fully viable for up to 3 years, reducing its percentage germination from year 4 onwards. Pollinia stored at higher temperatures had a drastic reduction in vitality after 2 days at 41–44 °C, while pollinia stored at 47–50 °C did not show any pollen tube growth. • The different levels of pollen viability duration among the examined orchids can be related to their peculiar reproductive biology and pollination ecology. The germinability of pollinia stored at lower temperatures for long periods suggests that orchid pollinia can be conserved ex situ. In contrast, higher temperatures can have harmful effects on the vitality of pollen and consequently on reproductive success of the plants. To our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating the effects of global change on orchid pollen, and on pollen ability to tolerate, or not, higher air temperatures. Although vegetative reproduction allows orchids to survive a few consecutive warm years, higher temperatures for several consecutive years can have dramatic effects on reproductive success of orchids.
Anacamptis, climate warming, Dactylorhiza, frozen pollinia, Ophrys, orchids, Orchis, pollen viability, Serapias.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/310458
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