Pollination mechanism of Arum apulum

Pollination mechanism of Arum apulum

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: A flower of Arum apulum, cut open to expose the mechanism for ensuring cross-pollination. Arum flowers consist of a leaf-like hood (the spathe), containing a columnar structure, the spadix. The picture shows the chamber formed by the spathe at the base of the flower. It contains the lower end of the spadix with the reproductive components of the flower. At picture top, the spadix (purple) develops downward facing hairs. This permits small flies (visible at the base) into the chamber. They pass a ring of anthers ( brown, above picture centre ), to reach the receptive female carpels below (cream spheres). The flies cannot escape. After one night; the anthers shed pollen, and the hairs above whither. The flies escape, coated with pollen. The next Arum flower they visit will be cross-pollinated. Arum apulum is an endangered species on the IUCN red list, endemic to Apulia in Italy.

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Keywords: anther, apulia, arum apulum, arum flower, carpel, cross-pollination, endemic plant, italy, iucn endangered plant, pollen, pollination, pollination mechanism, spadix, spathe

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