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Re: Re: HYB: Freezing Iris Seeds

  • Subject: Re: [iris-talk] Re: HYB: Freezing Iris Seeds
  • From: "Donald Eaves" <donald@eastland.net>
  • Date: Sat, 25 Aug 2001 11:22:46 -0500

>Please forgive what may seem to be, depending on how you take them,
petulant or impertinent or silly or foolish questions from a person who is
not into or interesting in doing hybridizing, but for the life of me I can't
understand why one would want to go to the trouble, expense and extra time
of something like having to use liquid nitrogen to freeze your seeds.  Why
do this when so many, it seems, have great success without resorting to all
that?  Why do this when the way seeds are treated in nature certainly
doesn't involve such procedures?  Why isn't a method good enough or even
more preferable that imitates as nearly as feasible the natural state of
what happens when a seed ripens, falls to the ground, and in time, as winter
comes, gradually gets cold and (if you live far enough north) freezes and
stays that way for a while, then warms up and begins to grow?

For pretty much the same reasons colchicine is used to induce tetraploidy in
natural dipoids.  For instance, I made the cross of SUMMER SET X I. jordana
this year and set a pod that yielded one seed.  I'd like to grow it, but the
chances are pretty slim at best.  Nature allowed the seed to form, but if I
could increase the chances of germinating and growing it and had the means
to do so, I wouldn't hesitate.  Conditions in nature are not always ideal as
the last three years of drought here prove.  When you manage to obtain a
seed from parents with uneven chromosome counts, as the mentioned pod
probably is, then managing the conditions under which you could increase the
chances of success of growing such a cross is the reason for trying methods
different than merely mimicking what nature would provide.  Your question
could also apply to those who make any interspecies cross.  Nature doesn't
do that very often.  I think hybridizing goes beyond what nature does
naturally in any case.  Just by selecting parents one moves beyond the
random cross of a natural cross.  It is why growing an embryo in a test tube
has been used.  It is just a means of pushing the boundaries of what can be
obtained through hybridizing.  When the efforts are successful, everyone
benefits.  Going to those lengths isn't for everyone.  I use normal growing
methods as a general rule.  But because I'm mainly working with arilbreds,
my germination isn't usually what I'd like.  They simply aren't germinating
as successfully as the TB crosses.

>I read of high germination rates from several of you who don't resort to
such elaborate procedures

But I doubt they are referring to crosses that yield less than five seeds
per pod.  I managed a handful of such crosses this year and I can all but
guarantee that normal planting procedures are not going to give high
germination rates - maybe not any.

 Donald Eaves
Texas Zone 7b, USA

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