In the autonomous apomictic Taraxacum offinale (common dandelion), parthenogenetic egg cells develop into embryos and central cells into endosperm without prior fertilisation. Unreduced (2n) megaspores are formed via meiotic diplospory, a nonreductional type of meiosis. In this paper, we describe the normal developmental pathways of sexual and apomictic reproduction and compare these with the development observed in the apomictic hybrids. In sexual diploids, a standard type of megasporogenesis and embryo sac development is synchronised between florets in individual capitula. In contrast, we observed that megasporogenesis and gametogenesis proceeded asynchronously between florets within a single capitulum of natural triploid apomicts. In addition, autonomous endosperm and embryo development initiated independently within individual florets. Parthenogenetic initiation of embryo development in outdoor apomicts was found to be temperature-dependent. Egg cells produced in natural apomicts were not fertilised after pollination with haploid pollen grains although pollen tubes were observed to grow into their embryo sacs. Both reductional and diplosporous megasporogenesis were observed in individual inflorescences of triploid apomictic hybrids. Embryo and endosperm development initiated independently in natural and hybrid apomicts. [KEYWORDS: apomixis, autonomous endosperm, diplospory embryo, development, parthenogenesis]
Original languageEnglish
JournalSexual Plant Reproduction
Journal publication date2002

ID: 96098