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HYB: Pollen Viability

From: Sharon McAllister <73372.1745@compuserve.com>

Message text written by Dennis Kramb:

>I've asked this question before, and no one seems to have an answer.

If an iris produces pollen, is it a sure bet that the pollen is fertile?
Or can an iris produce pollen that isn't viable?

Hmmm.  I'm sure we've covered this before -- but perhaps it was on the old

Anyway, pollen may or may not be viable.  There's no such thing as a "sure
bet" when it comes to hybridizing!  

That said, if it's a cultivar that you'd expect to be fertile and the
pollen looks good -- use it with confidence.

OTOH, relatively infertile types [like 1/4-breds and 3/4-breds] can produce
pollen that looks good to the naked eye but the microscope reveals that
there are some apparently good grains mixed in with a lot of chaff. 
There's no guarantee that the grains that look good are actually viable,
but I use this technique to search for cultivars that might prove more
fertile than expected for the type.  

The purpose of all this testing is just to IMPROVE chances of getting
seedlings.  I don't mean to discourage you from making crosses that have
little chance of taking.   A slim chance is better than none -- which is
what you have if you resist the temptation to make that cross.

Sharon McAllister

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