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Journal of Botany
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 513623, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/513623
Research Article

Structure and Stability of Cocoa Flowers and Their Response to Pollination

1Department of Entomology and Wildlife, School of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana
2Technology Consultancy Centre, College of Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
3Department of Wildlife and Range Management, Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

Received 28 August 2013; Revised 31 December 2013; Accepted 10 January 2014; Published 2 March 2014

Academic Editor: Curtis C. Daehler

Copyright © 2014 Kofi Frimpong-Anin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This study investigated the position of staminodes around the style of cocoa flowers and the stability of cocoa flowers relative to pollination and seasonality. Cocoa flowers were categorized into converging, ≤1.20 mm; parallel, 1.21–2.40 mm, and splay ≥2.41 mm, depending on the distance between the staminode and style. Some flowers were hand pollinated while others were not and were excluded from insect visitors. Proportions of flowers of converging (56.0%), parallel (37.5%), and splay (6.5%) remained similar along the vertical plane of cocoa trees. Although pollination rates of flowers with splay staminodes were the lowest, the overall pollination success of cocoa trees was not significantly affected because of the small proportion of splay flowers.The stability of the cocoa flowers depended on both the season and pollination. During the dry season, unpollinated flowers of cocoa trees showed a flower-stability ratio of 72% on the second day, while the flower-stability ratio was 94% in the wet season. Pollinated (senescent) flowers had a stability ratio of 95% after 5 days during the wet season, but all pollinated flowers dropped after 5 days in the dry season, indicating that seasonal factors, such as water stress, can have dramatic effects on cocoa yields.