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HYB: Muliple Pollinations

From: Sharon McAllister <73372.1745@compuserve.com>

 Donald Eaves wrote:
Now I'm a bit confused after Walter and Sharon seem to have
responded differently to the question.  To clarify what I was
thinking I should say I thought a different grain of pollen might
fertilize each chamber of the pod, there being three stigmatic
lips and three chambers in a pod.  Ergo a different pollen grain
from different pod parents per chamber perhaps.  I realized after
I posted that many people say it is only necessary to pollinate
one stigmatic lip and to get a full pod, so on thinking later decided
I might not have been thinking straight.  

In short, I guess I need someone to explain a bit of biology to me
here.  Birds and bees - that sort of thing.  

Yes, the tale has made the rounds that you only have to pollinate only one
stigmatic lip in order to get a full pod. I haven't tested that theory,
myself.   After dissecting both flowers and developing ovaries, I have my
doubts -- but that is certainly NOT the same as proof.  

The old-timers who deliberately made multiple pollinations of rare flowers
were careful to use a different stigmatic lip for each type of pollen. 
I've tried this myself with wide crosses, using not just different
cultivars but different types as the pollen parent.  With these
experiments, I count myself lucky to get even one seed in one chamber and
have never found seeds in more than one chamber.  IF it happened, though,
I'd expect the different chambers to be associated with different crosses. 
I've never had any problems identifying papa, simply because I choose my
candidates very carefully.  If the pod parent is a halfbred, and I cross a
1/4-bred, a 3/4-bred, and a tetraploid aril onto it, the resultant
seedlings are likely to be quite different.

As for "The Birds & The Bees", would you settle for the bees & the
hybridizer <G>?  The basic biology is that one pollen grain can fertilize
one ovum.  Not an entire pod.  Not even one chamber.  One egg.  The
visiting bee or the human hybridizer spreads a generous amount of pollen
over the stigmatic lip.  The immature ovary contains a number of waiting
eggs.  The pollen grains burst and pollen tubes start growing down the
style arm.  Not all of the pollen tubes make it all the way, especially if
there's more pollen than the stigmatic juices can support.  Some die, but
the successful ones fertilize a waiting egg.  The fertilized eggs grow into
seeds, while the unfertilized ones die.  

If fully compatible parents are used and the cross is successful, the
result will be a large number of seeds -- each of which will grow up to be
a unique individual.  Each has only one "father", but each was produced by
a different pollen grain produced by that father.  Usually, they even have
the same father -- but it's certainly possible for a bee to deposit viable
pollen grains AFTER the hybridizer has been at work.  THAT'S why we
"protect" our crosses. 

Sharon McAllister

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