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Re: HYB: Saliva, Poison

  • Subject: Re: HYB: Saliva, Poison
  • From: "Mike Sutton" <suttons@lightspeed.net>
  • Date: Thu, 4 Feb 1999 11:04:35 -0800

From: "Mike Sutton" <suttons@lightspeed.net>

How about just looking to see if the stigmatic lip is still wet? (-:  A
relatively fresh flower will have a damp (or sticky) lip even in the 85+
degrees we get here in the spring.  Even summer rebloom flowers will be
hybridizable (sp?) in the mornings.  We get really good success rates here
simply by hybridizing in the morning or evening AND looking for the damp or
sticky lip.  Tools I use are:  Surgical tweezers,  tags,  grease pencil.
Mike Sutton who has never licked, spit on or moistened any flower
-----Original Message-----

>> Jan there was a discussion on the Iris-L a couple of years ago about the
>> problems hybridizers were having with their stomachs after doing a
>> certain amount of hybridizing. It turned out that pollen has oxalic acid
>> on it which is poisonous for humans. The conclusion was that new
>> toothpicks should be used for each flower.
>Mike Moller wrote:
>   snip
>>   Shortly thereafter another hybridizer was suffering the same stomach
>>   problems and realized that is was a direct result of using the
>>   method. >>
>>  This story is true!. The Famous hybridizer was Neva Sexton, who died of
>>  unknown stomach problem. Tom Magee learned hybridizing from Neva and
used the
>>  very same method. The same year she died, he was also hospitalized with
>>  unknown stomach problem. Tom lived and he is the one putting out this
>>  Needless to say, he does not clean toothpicks in his mouth anymore!
>>  Although I hadn't heard about the
>>  health hazards you mentioned, I was taught NEVER to just clean a
toothpick in my
>>  mouth and reuse it because saliva doesn't kill pollen immediately and it
>>  contaminate the next cross.   Ironically, it was a doctor who suggested
>>  minute amounts of iris pollen I might ingest while hybridizing were
>>  good for me.   I do apologize for including Gene Hunt's comment about
>>  protein content of pollen, though -- without cleary indicating it was a
>>  Gene was known for not wasting a single grain of pollen.
>>  Anyway, here's the detailed procedure for the cautious hybridizer:
>>  1.     Outfit a tool kit (mine is a large tackle box) with clean
condiment cups
>>  & lids, several sets of  tweezers, indelible markers, masking tape,
tags -- and
>>  a box of  toothpicks.
>>  2.     Harvest  the anthers with tweezers, place them in a CLEAN
condiment cup,
>>  write the name or number on a piece of masking tape and stick it on the
>>  3.     Take a new toothpick out of the box, moisten it with saliva if
>>  then use it to transfer the pollen from the harvested anther to the
>>  lip.
>>  After the first cross, the toothpick is moist enough to pick up more
pollen, dry
>>  enough to store safely in the pollen cup -- at least long enough to tag
>>  cross.  I normally continue working with that cup until I run out of
pollen or
>>  flowers to put it on.  Then DISCARD the toothpick.   There are better
ways to
>>  save money and the environment than recycling  toothpicks!
>Personally I have never had any stomach or (as many people would gladly
>testify) speaking or throat problems from iris pollen.....

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