Re: HYB: Reciprocal Crosses
In a message dated 1/6/1999 12:10:50 PM Central Standard Time,
This could quickly become rather complicated. Where do you want to start?
Sharon McAllister >>
I will dive right in at the end. :-) When you make reciprocal crosses, do you
mix the seed or do you plant the seeds separately? If you plant them
separately, do you see a differences in the two crosses?
This question has plagued me since the late 80's.
(A little bit of history so that I won't look too stupid!) Region 7
hybridizers wanted awareness of hybridizing raised within the region. Although
I was new at hybridizing, I was the only one crazy enough to tackle the job.
I was asked to write about hybridizing for the Irisarian. I read everything I
could get my hands on.
I queried judges and hybridizers in Region 7. (My memory may be faulty on %'s
here but I'm close.) I was told that a certain percentage (30?) of the
seedlings would look like (similar) to the pod parent, and approximately 20%
would look like the pollen parent. The rest would be throw backs to ancestors
of the two.
Not content to let it rest at that, I wrote to some well-known hybridizers
outside our region. Reciprocal crosses was only one of many questions I
asked. (For those who helped--Thanks again.) I was surprised when I was told
that there were no differences in the two groups of seed. One well-known
hybridizers, who I have utmost respect for, replied that he just mixed the
seeds together and planted them as one cross. He said there was no
I made my first crosses in 86. I had decided to focus on rebloomers, but I
only had one real rebloomer in my collection that year, Autumn Encore, and it
offered only 1 bloom, which I crossed with borrowed pollen from Jimmy Burch's
Roman Lover. Left with a tremendous urge to pollinate irises, compulsion took
over, and I made crosses on everything in bloom--17 took!
For those who wondered out loud why I would make such a dumb cross as Peach
Spot and Highland Chief, you now have your answer! Peach Spot is a West Coast
rebloomer and Highland Chief is still a favorite brown/red plicata. I also
made the reciprocal cross. I eagerly lined out my seedlings, and anxiously
awaited their bloom in 88. My first babies to bloom--what a thrill! The
blooms from this cross were a delight to see. And very different. Each from
the other and between crosses.
Where I had used Highland Chief as the pod parent, I got plicatas with solid
orange selfs (9 buds) thrown in. There were several very pretty irises in
this group. Where I used Peach Spot as the pod parent, I got pale washed-out
amoenas and some off-colored whites. On these, 5 was the highest bud count.
More recently, I made reciprocal crosses on seedlings of mine which I hoped
would combine rebloom, blue bearded white/pale blue, and improved form. Both
seedlings had Immortality as the pod parent. These 95 crosses were lined out
end to end for observation, and then forgotten. When I went to retrieve them
for this move into town, I found one cross had grown well (in the weeds) and
there were several strong seedlings. I brought 6 with me. The other cross
had either died or was close to giving up the ghost. This was unfortunate
because the pod parent from this cross was the one with great height and
branching. None were thriving enough to be included in the move. They were
obviously different from the time they sprouted.
For someone that intended giving up iris just a few months ago, I do go on!
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