University of California

Morphology of reproduction in guayule and certain other species of Parthenium


Katherine Esau

Author Affiliations

Katherine Esau was Associate Professor of Botany and Associate Botanist in the Experiment Station.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 17(2):61-120. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v17n02p061. January 1946.

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Studies on hybridization in guayule (Parthenium argentatum Gray) conducted under the Guayule Research Project of the United States Department of Agriculture at Salinas, California, revealed that apomixis occurred in this species (Powers and Rollins, 1945).3 This observation contradicts the reports in earlier morphologic work on guayule, according to which this plant shows no asexual reproduction (Kirkwood, 1910); (Kokieva, 1932); (Dianowa et al., 1935). A reinvestigation of the morphology of reproduction in guayule was therefore necessary. The present study on megasporogenesis, megagametogenesis, and embryo formation of Parthenium was undertaken in response to this need. The first findings of these morphologic studies, which confirmed the conclusion of (Powers and Rollins (1945)) on the occurrence of apomixis in guayule, were reported in a preliminary paper (Esau, 1944b). Since then additional types of guayule and two other species of Parthenium (P. hysterophorus L. and P. incanum H.B.K.) have been examined, and the complete data assembled for the present paper.

Review of Literature

Since the literature on apomixis has been thoroughly reviewed by (Stebbins (1941)), the only papers considered here will be those that bear most directly on the present study. The writer previously reported (Esau, 1944b) that in apomictic guayule the megaspore mother cells commonly fail to undergo meiosis and directly develop into diploid embryo sacs.

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Esau K. 1946. Morphology of reproduction in guayule and certain other species of Parthenium. Hilgardia 17(2):61-120. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v17n02p061
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