Ginseng (Panax ginseng), a valued medicinal herb, is a slow-growing plant that flowers after 3 years of growth with the formation of a solitary terminal umbel inflorescence. However, little is known about cytological events during ginseng reproduction, such as the development of the male organ, the stamen. To better understand the mechanism controlling ginseng male reproductive development, here, we investigated the inflorescence and flower structure of ginseng. Moreover, we performed cytological analysis of anther morphogenesis and showed the common and specialized cytological events including the formation of four concentric cell layers surrounding male reproductive cells followed by subsequent cell differentiation and degeneration of tapetal cells, as well as the formation of mature pollen grains via meiosis and mitosis during ginseng anther development. Particularly, our transverse section and microscopic observations showed that the ginseng tapetal layer exhibits obvious nonsynchronous cell division evidenced by the observation of one or two tapetal layers frequently observed in one anther lobe, suggesting the unique control of cell division. To facilitate the future study on ginseng male reproduction, we grouped the anther development into 10 developmental stages according to the characterized cytological events.
Keywords: Cell division; Ginseng; Microspore; Pollen; Reproductive development; Stages of anther development.