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Re: HYB: Pollination

  • Subject: Re: HYB: Pollination
  • From: Linda Mann <lmann@volfirst.net>
  • Date: Wed, 22 May 2002 17:02:43 -0400

Some more wisdom, this time from Sharon McAllister, originally posted
July 8, 2001:
<1.  The juices in the stigmatic lip support the growth of pollen
tubes.  This
                       means that it is more difficult for pollen grain
deposited after the initial
                       group to grow a tube long enough to reach a
waiting ovum because the juices
                       have already been depleted -- but not impossible.

2.  When working with rare flowers or testing ploidy, the
                       old-timers did use different pollen on each
stigmatic lip.  [Please bear in
                       mind that I made my first crosses in the 1950s so
"old-timer" undoubtedly has
                       a different meaning for me than for most of our
list-members.]  These
                       experimenters fell into two groups:  1) those who
would be delighted to get
                       ANY offspring and thus content to denote the type
of pollen parent rather
                       than the specific cultivar; and 2) those who were
careful to use widely
                       different pollen parents and thus trusted their
ability to match any
                       offspring with the right parent.

3.  Hybridizers do sometimes make the mistake of crossing onto a
                       previously-pollinated flower.  By retaining
records of both pollen parents,
                       experienced ones can sometimes match the
offspring with the parent.  Others
                       simply record the pollen parent as "unknown" --
which is NOT the same as a
                       bee cross.  [Some years ago, I accidentally
crossed both a 1/4-bred and a 3/4
                       bred onto a 1/2-bred.  I got three TYPES of
offspring: one that must have
                       come from the 1/4-bred, one that must have come
from the 3/4-bred, and one
                       that could have come from either.]

4.  Many hybridizer's protect their crosses by removing the falls [upon
                       bees can land] or bagging the flower.  This is
certainly appropriate for
                       climates in which the stigmatic lip has a
relatively long period of
                       receptivity.  Twice, I set aside a substantial
portion of my garden for
                       college students who wanted to do some
hybridizing experiments.  Although few
                       pods resulted -- timing is everything -- ALL of
those pods were on stalks
                       bearing tags.  Although there were FAR more
uncrossed and unprotected flowers
                       that could have been pollinated by bees, none of
them produced pods.

5.  Dissection of developing pods has revealed no physical barrier to
                       fertilization of ova in adjoining compartments.
[This is in the archives,
                       sorry I can't recall the subject line].
Personally, I suspect this happens
                       only in hospitable climates.  I have had many
unbalanced pods develop from
                       crosses involving all three stigmatic lips, which
I attribute to timing.  In
                       my super-dry climate, with prevailing westerly
winds, the eastermost lip
                       remains receptive after the westernmost one is
too dry.  But the lack of a
                       physical barrier could certainly explain the
success of those who take
                       advantage of more favorable conditions to cross
onto only one stigmatic lip.

The proverbial "Bottom Line":

                       Pod-sibs may indeed have different pollen
parents.  Climate and local growing
                       conditions may promote or discourage this
phenomenon. An individual
                       hybridizer, taking all of these things into
account, may opt to protect
                       crosses or to conduct an extended range of

                       There are no easy answers, but it's important
that we evaluate each situation
                       in light of its specific conditions -- not just
personal experience in our
                       own gardens.

                       Sharon McAllister >

reposted by Linda Mann

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