1988, 26 (4): 265–281
Pollen morphology of 89 species and 3 varieties belonging to 18 genera (out of
150 spcies in 20 genera) of Zingiberaceae in China was studied under both light microscope
and scanning electron microscope.
Pollen grains of Zingiberaceae are spherical, subspherical, ovoid and prolate, 36-225 μm
in size, nonaperturate or aperturate (spiraperturate, porate). Pollen grains are almost not
resistant to acetolysis. The wall is composed of a very thin exine and a thick intine. The
exine is psilate, spinate, cerebelloid-areolate, striate, verrucate and foveolate.
According to the presence or the absence of aperture and differential ornamentations, two
types and six subtypes are recognized:
I. The type Nonaperturate: (85 species and 3 varieties in 18 genera). Four subtypes can
be recognized within the type based on the characteristics of the exine sculpture. These are:
(1) The subtype Psilate, in which, the exine is nearly smooth (including: Hedychium, Curcuma, Kaempferia, Caulokaempferia coenobilis, Boesenbergia rotunda, Stahlianthus, Amomum compactum, Etingera, Hornstedtis, Rhynchanthus). (2) The subtype Spinate, which comprises two
groups: (A) The group Short-spinate, pollen grains with smaller spines (Globba), (B) The
group Long-spinate, pollen grains with longer spines (Alpinia, Amomum, Plagiostachys, Roscoea, Cautleya, Boesenbergia fallax, Caulokaempferia yunnanensis). (3) The subtype Cereblloid-areolate, pollen grains of which are spherical or subspherical, with cerebelloid sculpture
(Zingiber Sect. Zingiber). (4) The subtype Striate, pollen grains of which are prolate or oliveshaped, and striate (Zingiber Setc. Cryptanthium).
II. The type Aperturate, in which pollen grains are acetilysis-resistant and possess distinct apertures (mixed colpate-porate or forate), including two subtypes: (1)The subtype Mixed
colpate and Porate. Pollen grains are both 3-colpate and 1-3-porate, and usually with one
long spiral, two short (straight or slightly curved) colpi and 1-3-poris. The exine is verrucate
or not, nearly sinuolate (Costus speciosus, C. tonkinensis, C. lacerus). (2) The subtype porate,
whose grains are 6-8-porate and exine is foveolate (Costus megalobractea).
The taxonomic significance of the pollen types in the family Zingiberaceae is also discussed.