BREEDING AND POLLINATION SYSTEMS IN THE INDIAN ALMOND TREE TERMINALIA CATAPPA LINN.J.B. Atluri, C. Subba Red& and S.P. Venkata Ramana
The occurrence of three clearly distinguishable lengths of inflorescence axis, one of which with male sterility but still giving fruit, presents an interesting situation of breeding and pollination in the Indian Almond tree Terminalia catappa Linn. (Combretaceae).The long and medium length inflorescences yielded fruit by autogamy and geitonogamy and, the short length ones are entirely apomictic.This behaviour is in contrast with the breeding behaviour of other species of Terminalia distributed wild in the Indian forests, in that these species are obligately outcrossed. In T catappa it is thought that the random genetic drift or apomixis might have favoured the evolution of microspecies or biotypes differing in inflorescence length and in breeding system.The trees are andromonoecious and the flowers, are promiscous producing traces of nectar and large quantities of pollen. The flower visitor complement included bees, flies, wasps and ants, of which the bee genera Trigona and Apis and the fly genera Chrysomya and Sarcophaga are proved important pollinators by virtue of frequency of their visits, foraging speed and pollen pick-up. Individually, the stingless bee Trigona is proved more important as pollinator. In urban plantations the totally apomictic progency may be chosen to mitigate pollen pollution of the urban air.
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