Natalie Prior from the University of Victoria in Canada is visiting Montgomery Botanical Center for one month to study cycads.  Natalie has been working with Dr. Patrick Von Aderkas collecting pollination drops from cycads and analyzing their components.

For pollination to occur in most gymnosperms, a pollination drop is used to deliver pollen into the female cone.  The main function of the drop is to receive the pollen, but interestingly it has been discovered that these drops contain many organic and inorganic components, such as sugars and free amino acids. In many conifers, proteins have also been found.  The main
hypotheses for these proteins are that they function as defense mechanisms or antifreeze.

Montgomery Botanical Center is happy to welcome Natalie Prior and is looking forward to seeing what’s inside a pollination drop!