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A pollinium (plural pollinia) is a coherent mass of pollen grains in a plant that are the product of only one anther, but are transferred, during pollination, as a single unit. [1] [2] This is regularly seen in plants such as orchids and many species of milkweeds (Asclepiadoideae). Usage of the term differs: in some orchids two masses of pollen are well attached to one another, but in other orchids there are two halves (with two separate viscidia) each of which is sometimes referred to as a pollinium. [1]

Pollen fine to coarse powder containing the microgametophytes of seed plants

Pollen is a fine to coarse powdery substance comprising pollen grains which are male microgametophytes of seed plants, which produce male gametes. Pollen grains have a hard coat made of sporopollenin that protects the gametophytes during the process of their movement from the stamens to the pistil of flowering plants, or from the male cone to the female cone of coniferous plants. If pollen lands on a compatible pistil or female cone, it germinates, producing a pollen tube that transfers the sperm to the ovule containing the female gametophyte. Individual pollen grains are small enough to require magnification to see detail. The study of pollen is called palynology and is highly useful in paleoecology, paleontology, archaeology, and forensics. Pollen in plants is used for transferring haploid male genetic material from the anther of a single flower to the stigma of another in cross-pollination. In a case of self-pollination, this process takes place from the anther of a flower to the stigma of the same flower.

Asclepiadoideae subfamily of plants

According to APG II, the Asclepiadaceae, commonly known as milkweed family, is a former plant family now treated as a subfamily in the Apocynaceae.

Most orchids have waxy pollinia. These are connected to one or two elongate stipes,[ clarification needed ] [3] which in turn are attached to a sticky viscidium, a disc-shaped structure that sticks to a visiting insect. [2]

Some orchid genera have mealy pollinia. These are tapering into a caudicle (stalk), attached to the viscidium. They extend into the middle section of the column.

Column (botany) reproductive structure that can be found in several plant families

The column, or technically the gynostemium, is a reproductive structure that can be found in several plant families: Aristolochiaceae, Orchidaceae, and Stylidiaceae.

The pollinarium is a collective term that means either (1) the complete set of pollinia from all the anthers of a flower, as in Asclepiadoideae, (2) in Asclepiadoideae, a pair of pollinia and the parts that connect them (corpusculum and translator arms), or (3) in orchids, a pair of pollinia with two viscidia and the other connecting parts. [1]

<i>Phalaenopsis</i> genus of plants

PhalaenopsisBlume (1825), commonly known as moth orchids or 蝴蝶兰属 is a genus of about seventy species of orchids in the family orchid. Orchids in this genus are monopodial epiphytes or lithophytes with long, coarse roots, short, leafy stems and long-lasting, flat flowers arranged in a flowering stem that often branches near the end. Orchids in this genus are native to India, China, Southeast Asia, New Guinea and Australia with the majority in Indonesia and the Philippines.

<i>Ophrys apifera</i> species of plant

Ophrys apifera, known in Europe as the bee orchid, is a perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the family Orchidaceae. It is remarkable as an example of sexually-deceptive pollination and floral mimicry as well as of a highly-selective and highly evolved plant-pollinator relationship.

<i>Asclepias asperula</i> species of plant

Asclepias asperula is a species of milkweed native to the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Its common names include antelope horns, green-flowered milkweed, and spider antelope horns.

Related Research Articles

Orchidaceae family of plants

The Orchidaceae are a diverse and widespread family of flowering plants, with blooms that are often colourful and fragrant, commonly known as the orchid family.


In angiosperms, a hypanthium or floral cup is a structure where basal portions of the calyx, the corolla, and the stamens form a cup-shaped tube. It is sometimes called a floral tube, a term that is also used for corolla tube and calyx tube. It often contains the nectaries of the plant. It is present in most flowering species, although varies in structural dimensions and appearance. This differentiation between the hypanthium in particular species is useful for identification. Some geometric forms are obconic shapes as in toyon, whereas some are saucer-shaped as in Mitella caulescens.

Stamen floral organ

The stamen is the pollen-producing reproductive organ of a flower. Collectively the stamens form the androecium.

Epidendroideae subfamily of plants

In plant systematics Epidendroideae is a subfamily of the orchid family, Orchidaceae. Epidendroideae is larger than all the other orchid subfamilies together, comprising more than 15,000 species in 576 genera. Most Epidendroid orchids are tropical epiphytes, typically with pseudobulbs. There are, however, some terrestrials such as Epipactis and even a few myco-heterotrophs, which are parasitic upon mycorrhizal fungi.

Dehiscence (botany) splitting at maturity along a built-in line of weakness in a plant structure in order to release its contents, and is common among fruits, anthers and sporangia

Dehiscence is the splitting along a built-in line of weakness in a plant structure in order to release its contents, and is common among fruits, anthers and sporangia. Sometimes this involves the complete detachment of a part. Structures that open in this way are said to be dehiscent. Structures that do not open in this way are called indehiscent, and rely on other mechanisms such as decay or predation to release the contents.


The tribe Euglossini, in the subfamily Apinae, commonly known as orchid bees or euglossine bees, are the only group of corbiculate bees whose non-parasitic members do not all possess eusocial behavior.

<i>Calotropis</i> genus of plants

Calotropis is a genus of flowering plants in the dogbane family, Apocynaceae, first described as a genus in 1810. It is native to southern Asia and North Africa.

Houlletia is a genus of large-growing epiphytic orchids native to Mexico, and possibly also Guatemala through Central America to Bolivia. was established with the publication by Brogniartt of Houlletia brocklehurstiana in 1841. The genus is named in honor of orchid collector and grower M. Houllet, French orchid collector in Brazil, later the director of the Botanic Jardin des Plantes in Paris, 19th century

<i>Cephalanthera longifolia</i> species of plant, Sword-leaved Helleborine

Cephalanthera longifolia, known by the common names Narrow-leaved Helleborine or Sword-leaved Helleborine, is an herbaceous perennial plant with rhizome belonging to the family Orchidaceae. It is native to light woodland, widespread across Europe, Asia and North Africa from Ireland and Morocco to China. This includes Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Algeria, India, Pakistan, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and many other countries.

Jennyella is a genus of orchids. The description was published in 1999 by E. Luckel & H. Fessel separating four species previously grouped in Houlletia. The genus is named in honor of Rudolf Jenny, noted researcher and author on orchids.

Paphinia dunstervillei is an orchid species native to Venezuela.

This page provides a glossary of plant morphology. Botanists and other biologists who study plant morphology use a number of different terms to classify and identify plant organs and parts that can be observed using no more than a handheld magnifying lens. This page provides help in understanding the numerous other pages describing plants by their various taxa. The accompanying page—Plant morphology—provides an overview of the science of the external form of plants. There is also an alphabetical list: Glossary of botanical terms. In contrast, this page deals with botanical terms in a systematic manner, with some illustrations, and organized by plant anatomy and function in plant physiology.

Locule small cavity or compartment within an organ or part of an organism

A locule or loculus is a small cavity or compartment within an organ or part of an organism.

This glossary of botanical terms is a list of terms relevant to botany and plants in general. Terms of plant morphology are included here as well as at the related Glossary of plant morphology and Glossary of leaf morphology. See also List of Latin and Greek words commonly used in systematic names. You can help by adding illustrations that assist an understanding of the terms.

Sessility (botany)

In botany, sessility is a characteristic of plant parts that have no stalk. Flowers or leaves are borne directly from the stem or peduncle, and thus lack a petiole or pedicel. The leaves of most monocotyledons lack petioles.

Whorl (botany)

In botany, a whorl or verticil is an arrangement of sepals, petals, leaves, stipules or branches that radiate from a single point and surround or wrap around the stem. A whorl consists of at least three elements; a pair of opposite leaves is not called a whorl.

<i>Asclepias meadii</i> species of plant

Asclepias meadii is a rare species of milkweed known by the common name Mead's milkweed. It is native to the American Midwest, where it was probably once quite widespread in the tallgrass prairie. Today much of the Midwest has been fragmented and claimed for agriculture, and the remaining prairie habitat is degraded.


  1. 1 2 3 Beentje, H.; Williamson, J. (2010). The Kew Plant Glossary: an Illustrated Dictionary of Plant Terms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: Kew Publishing.
  2. 1 2 Hickey, M.; King, C. (2001). The Cambridge Illustrated Glossary of Botanical Terms. Cambridge University Press.
  3. Kull, T.; Arditti, J. (2002). Orchid Biology VIII: Reviews and Perspectives. 8. Kluwer Academic Publishers. p. 127. ISBN   9781402005800.