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Abstract

Our macroscopic observations and microscopic studies conducted by means of a light microscope (LM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM) concerning the reproduction biology of Colobanthus quitensis (Caryophyllaceae) growing in natural conditions in the Antarctic and in a greenhouse in Olsztyn (northern Poland) showed that this plant develops two types of bisexual flowers: opening, chasmogamous flowers and closed, cleistogamous ones. Cleistogamy was caused by a low temperature, high air humidity and strong wind. A small number of microspores differentiated in the microsporangia of C. quitensis , which is typical of cleistogamous species. Microsporocytes, and later micro − spores, formed very thick callose walls. More than twenty spheroidal, polypantoporate pollen grains differentiated in the microsporangium. They germinated on the surface of receptive cells on the dry stigma of the gynoecium or inside the microsporangium. A monosporic embryo sac of the Polygonum type differentiated in the crassinucellar ovule. During this differentiation the nucellus tissue formed and stored reserve materials. In the development of generative cells, a male germ unit (MGU) with differentiated sperm cells was observed. The smaller cell contained mainly mitochondria, and the bigger one plastids. In the process of fertilization in C. quitensis only one nucleus of the sperm cell, without cytoplasm fragments, entered the egg cell, and the proembryo developed according to the Caryophyllad type. Almost all C. quitensis ovules developed and formed perispermic seeds with a completely differentiated embryo both under natural conditions in the Antarctic and in a greenhouse in Olsztyn.
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