This study provides new pollen data of 52 representative species belonging to all 12 genera in the currently classification of the subtribe Nepetinae, and considers the possible presence of orbicules for the first time. Pollen morphology and ultrastructure were investigated with light, scanning electron and transmission electron microscopy. Nepetinae pollen is small to large (P=16–65 µm, E=17–53 µm), oblate to prolate (P/E=0.7–1.6) in shape and mostly hexacolpate (sometimes octocolpate). The exine stratification in all taxa studied is similar and characterized by unbranched columellae and a continuous, granular endexine. Sexine ornamentation in the Nepetinae is bireticulate, microreticulate or perforate. In perforate and microreticulate pattern a tendency towards a bireticulum could be recognized due to trace of secondary tectal connections. The bireticulate pattern is most common with variations of primary muri and secondary reticulum. In Hymenocrater and Schizonepeta the observed variation of sexine ornamentation is particularly valuable at the generic level. Pollen data support Lophanthus and Nepeta as very closely allied and Lallemantia is clearly distinct from Dracocephalum. The formerly suggested infrageneric relationships within Dracocephalum and Nepeta are only partly corroborated by palynological characters. Orbicules are absent in the Nepetinae.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.