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Ukr. Bot. J. 2018, 75(5): 446–456
Vegetation Science, Ecology, Conservation

Pollen characteristics of Picea abies and P. pungens (Pinaceae) in the plantations of the Kryvyi Rih area

Korshykov I.I.1,2, Huseynova E.R.1

An integral analysis of the morphometric rates, viability, and quality of pollen of Picea abies and P. pungens was conducted in plantations with different levels of aerotechnogenic influence in the conditions of Kryvyi Rih, a large industrial city in steppe zone. Pollen of 30–40-year-old trees of P. abies and P. pungens (the trees with bluish-green needles classified as varieties) was studied from eight plantations, which were located approximately from the northeast to the southwest throughout the length of Kryvyi Rih city (126 km), with different levels of technogenic pressure. During the research, we demonstrated negative influence of the exhaust gases of motor vehicles and, especially, the emissions of major metallurgical enterprises of Kryvyi Rih on the viability and fertility of pollen and development of its anomalies in P. abies and P. pungens. The maximum length of pollen grains (113.0 and 118.5 microns), the highest viability (75.3 and 78.6%), fertilising pollen (83.8 and 86.8%), the relative lowest number of its anomalies (9.0 and 9.2%) were noticed, respectively, in plants of P. abies and P. pungens from plantations of the botanical garden. The minimum dimensions of pollen in both species (respectively, 91.5 and 101.7 µm), the lowest viability (48.3 and 54.3%), fertilising pollen (46.5 and 48.9%) and the largest number of anomalies (35.9 and 33.6%) were observed for the trees under the highest emissions of metallurgical combines. Eight types of pollen anomalies in P. abies and P. pungens were ascertained in the botanical garden plantations and 13 types of plants of both species growing near metallurgical combines. The exhaust gases of vehicles also negatively affect the quality of pollen of both species; the share of anomalous pollen in P. abies was 17.4–24.7%, and P. pungens 13.7–25.1% and, even in the park plantations of the city, the level of anomalous pollen was significantly higher than in the arboretum of the botanical garden. Five types of anomalies were also detected in the germination of pollen under laboratory conditions and the relative number of these anomalies was considerably higher in plants of P. abies (26.4–29.5%), which were directly exposed to the emissions of metallurgical combines and in those of P. pungens (15.4–21.5%), influenced by the exhaust gases. Our investigation confirmed that male generative structures of plants of P. abies are more sensitive to influence of urbotechnogenic environment than those of P. pungens, which resulted in lower percentage of pollen fertility and viability as well as larger number of its abnormalities.

Keywords: Picea abies, Picea pungens ‘Glauca’, pollen viability, abnormalities, pollen tubes, steppe zone, urbotechnogenic environment

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