Living Systems Practical Sex, rewards and pollination


Bianca, Natasha, Anthony, Harrison and Kirsty

Azalea


Plant family: Ericaceae

Origin: Japan, China and Korea

Distribution: Native to every continent except South America and Africa

Source: Jane Edmanson, 2005, Gardening Australia, From http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s1350377.htm

Habitat: Slightly acidic soil with good drainage

Flowers: Bright lavender pink


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Figure 1. Azalea with many flowers


Floral morphology


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Figure 3. Anatomy of Azalea

Table 1. Comparison of size of male and female structures

Measurement (mm)


Structure
1
2
3
Mean
Standard Deviation (mm)
Style
30
20
28
26
5.291502622
Stamen
27
22
26
25
2.645751311
Note: Measurements were carried out using calipers.The average was then taken and standard deviation was produced using excel.

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Figure 4. Student using caliper to measure floral morphology.

Average number of stamen: 9

Observations: Majority of anthers were partly covered in a yellow substance which we assume to be pollen
The male structures were located quite close to the female structures, as seen in Figure 3.

Pollination and fertilisation



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Figure 2. Pollination

It was noted that one of the petals has a pattern on it which may be to attract a pollinator. It may also guide the pollinator down to the middle of the flower, aiding in pollination and fetilisation. Due to flower size and structural arrangement pollination is favourably pollinated by insects, specifically by bees.


Variability of floral morphology


Varies in colour. Additionally there was a large standard deviation regarding the style verus the stamen. And generally the style is longer than the stamen.


Pollen morphology


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Figure 5. Pollen grains

Pollen grains appear irregular, expected to be tetrad. Figure 5 was obtained using a compound microscope, this is a useful method for counting pollen grains.


Nectar characterisation


At this current stage in the flowers life cycle no nectar was evident. a refractometer reading was therefore not possible. This may be due to the time of year
It is white or slightly yellowish without distinct aroma. fructose is the prevalent sugar along with glucose and sucrose.