The Science of Pollen and Spores

The term palynology was coined after a written discussion with Ernst ANTEVS and A. Orville DAHL in the Pollen Analysis Circular no. 8 by HYDE and WILLIAMS (1944) and is a combination of the Greek verb paluno (naAovrn, "I strew or sprinkle"), palunein (naAoveiv, "to strew or sprinkle"), the Greek noun pale (naAri, in the sense of "dust, fine meal", and very close to the Latin word pollen, meaning "fine flour, dust") and the Greek noun logos (Aoyoc;, "word, speech").

Palynology is the science of paly-nomorphs, a general term for all entities found in palynological samples. A dominating object of the palynomorph spectrum is the pollen grain, the point of origin and the carrier for the male gametes (sperm cells).

What makes pollen grains so unique? Pollen grains represent an extra generation in seed plants, the highly reduced male gametophyte (the enclosing sporoderm a nd the cellular content, consisting of two or three cells, and the pollen tube). Pollen grains are therefore not simply parts of a plant, such as leaves or seeds, but are the haploid counterpart of the much larger diploid plant body "as we see it in nature". During transport pollen grains are completely separated from the parent plant and perfectly adapted for their role - the transfer of male genetic material - and are able to resist hostile environmental stress on their way to the female flower parts. These tiny (male haploid) organisms usually have as variable parameters: the pollen shape and size, the number, type and position of apertures and the pollen wall with its extremely diverse structure and sculpture. The characters of these parameters in comparative pollen (and spore) morphology and plant systematics are at least as important as any other morphological character of the diploid generation.

The pollen grains of seed plants and the spores of mosses and ferns share many homologies. However, although probably equivalent, the terminology of spore wall strata differs, mainly for historical reasons, from the terms used for pollen grains. Some elements and/or features of spores are unknown in pollen grains, e.g., the outermost wall layer in many fern spores, called the perine or perispore.

of .1331 a'-itwin, _ . „.j- suggestions that you night cars to offer, oVilli&ni rfubsy. Glial man, Division of Geology and Geography, National Hesearch Council, August 50, 1944)

TH5 liic-irr VJORD. - "The question raised by Sr. Antevs: ' Is pollen analysis tEo proper name for the study of pollen and its applications?1 c.nd his au^estion to raploco It by 'pollen science' inters 31 ua very much. Vie entirely agree that a new term is needed but in view of the fact that pollen analysts normally include in their counts tho spores of such plants as ferns £ind ¡nosaes wo think that soi:'.e word carrying a wider connotation than pollen seaTis to be called for. would therefore suggest palynology. (frgin Greek ¡Td k J {paluno}, to strjw or sprinkle} cf» rrd'X*7 (pale), fine ir.oal; cognate with Latin pollen, flour, dust): the study of pollen and other spores and their dispersal, and ¡applications thereof, ".'e venture to hope th;"it the sequence of consonants p-l-n, (aug£ sting pollen, but with a differ .moo) ar.d the gene'ral euphony ;if tho no:.' wore! rcir.y cOi^ncnd it to eur f :lIo'': workers in this field, '."s have been assisted in ths eoinin^ of this n:w word by Mr. L. J. Richardson, I.!.it.. University Co11.ro, Cardiff." (H.A. Hyde and D. A. '.Villi ams, July 15, 1944.

"I hava been toying with t'ns '.doi5, of 'mioro-paleobotany' as includinj r:ost of the work on pollen and spores and also all minor constituents of *•'■■>■ .'¡.nd humus I'.iycra of vegetative regains which

HYDE and WILLIAMS (1944)

The right word.

Pollen Analysis Circular 8: p. 6

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