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Storing Pollen


Linda Mann wrote:

:  Lots of good comments on storing/shipping pollen - one technique specifically
:  mentioned sealing containers (for mailing).  What about short term storage in
:  the fridge or room temperature?  Sealed or unsealed?  I am assuming open
:  containers since paper envelopes were one suggestion.  

I leave the containers unsealed while the anthers are drying, and usually as
long as they are stored at room temperature.  To save time, the cups of fresh
pollen I'm working with the most go into individual trays containing different
types of pollen.  This level of organization is probably not necessary for most
people, but I normally make well over a thousand crosses and even seconds saved
count up.   I do seal the containers when they're ready to go in the fridge or
freezer, though.

:  Does humidity matter?
:  To try to adjust to summer heat and humidity outdoors, I usually put off air
:  conditioning as long as possible, so indoors is high humidity (compared to
:  New Mexico).  I remember some discussion last spring in relation to making
:  successful crosses - seems like I remember  too humid is bad for pollen
:  viability so I am assuming unsealed containers for short term storage.  Maybe
:  with a few grains of rice for desiccant?

O.K.  So ALMOST anywhere has higher humidity than New Mexico!  Yes, humidity
does matter.  When the humidity is too low, pollen doesn't develop well and
crosses are much less apt to take than when the humidity is somewhat higher.
The magic number for the minimum seems to be somewhere around 30%.   I don't
know how high is too high, but if the pollen grains actually get wet they do
burst.  

Anyone who is really serious about hybridizing with stored pollen will benefit
from investing in a simple low-power microscope.   Once you've learned what
good, fresh pollen looks like, it's easy to recognize spoiled pollen and avoid
wasting an important flower on a futile cross.

Sharon McAllister (73372.1745@compuserve.com)
Southern New Mexico

Linda Mann lmann76543@aol.com east humid Tennessee USA
a gray and balmy day - good for rot and allergies - feels like spring!






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