TEM-Aufnahme von Anubias afzelii

TEM-Picture of Anubias afzelii

REM-Aufnahme von Anubias heterophylla

SEM-Picture of Anubias heterophylla

Palynology ist the study of palynomorphs, mainly of spores and pollen grains. They are formed within sporangia or anthers and represent reproductive dissemination units. The spores of mosses and ferns are single-celled, while pollen grains of seed plants (gymno- and angiosperms) consist of two or three to several cells, all of them contained within the spore or pollen wall. This wall is called sporoderm and comprises two distinct regions. The inner region, or intine, is composed mostly of cellulose. The outer region, or exine, is principally composed of sporopollenin, a macromolecule that is resistant to decay. The exine is further characterized by several ultrastructural layers and by diverse sculptural elements.

Particular features of pollen and spore morphology are important characteristics of taxonomic ranks, reflecting evolutionary or phylogenetic relationships. Distinguishing characters include apertures (the germination sites), ornamentation patterns (the sculpturing), manifold variation in exine infrastructure, and pollen or spore dimensions. Palynological characters are especially useful when evaluated systematically in conjunction with other features, for example, morphological and/or molecular-based characters.

Palynology serves as a basic science as well as in subdisciplines of applied sciences. Subdisciplines of palynology are, for example, aeropalynology, melissopalynology, or forensic palynology. Palynology plays an important role in the study of plant systematics, past vegetation, climatology, paleontology, geochronology, biostratigraphy, pollination biology, genetics, or other studies.