Snowball Pollen
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The Fertilization Race – Snowball Pollen

Viburnum tinus

Magnification: 1’400:1

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As soon as the pollen grains land on a snowball (Viburnum tinus) stigma, they compete for successful fertilization. Complex biochemical interactions between stigma surface and pollen coat allow only the compatible pollen (of other snowball plants) to hydrate, germinate and project a tube into the stigma. While numerous pollen tubes wind their way, only one will eventually enter the micropyle opening of the ovule, to fertilize the egg.