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pollen tubea slender structure produced from a POLLEN GRAIN after POLLINATION. The tube protrudes from a pore in the EXINE and grows down through the stigma, style and ovary of the CARPEL, entering the ovule usually by the micropyle. See Fig. 255 . Within the tube, the haploid generative nucleus divides by MITOSIS to give two MALE GAMETE NUCLEI which have an important function in the double FERTILIZATION process of higher plants (see EMBRYO SAC). The growth of the tube appears to be controlled by the tube nucleus and there is some evidence that the tube shows negative AEROTROPISM. The stimulus for the original germination of the pollen grain comes from a sugary fluid secreted by the stigma. Sometimes, however, germination is prevented by SELF-INCOMPATIBILITY factors in the stigma cells and pollen grain, which prevent self-pollination in some plants.
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005