Tea World

Lesson 6

Pollination in tea

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Pollen grains of the three races of tea are morphologically similar and in diploid, these are triangular, tricolporate and binucleate.  The plant flower profusely but yield is comparatively very low as tea plant shows an appreciable degree of self sterility.  Fruit setting in tea is only 2 per cent in tea under natural conditions and about 14 per cent when pollen is transferred by hand. The seedlings resulting from the selfed seeds are weak. The pollens grains of tea flower   are   large in size, sticky in nature and aggregate into lumps.Such pollen grains are not suitable for carriage by wind.Some crawling insects are the main pollinators in tea. The number of insects visiting tea seed trees at the flowering time is very low despite the fact that the flowers secrete large amounts of honey on the disc.But the honey secreted by the tea flowers contains high phenols that causes indigestion. Perhaps this may be the reason for not attracting the diverse insects for pollination.

After 24-48 hours of pollination, the corolla withers off and drops from the pedicel along with the anther lobesleaving the ovary exposed. The persistent calyx lobes close flately over the ovary and the style, and the stigma gradually withers off.

Tea Flower

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