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Re: HYBRIDIZING - Help me Bill Shear or somebody!!!

From: "heather & bernard pryor" <irishaven@pip.com.au>

>> Which leads me to my next question...How long can you store Iris seeds
>what would be the best way to store them?
> My final questions are about naturally occuring seed pods. >wondering if
there was any chance in heck of having a seedling from one of
>these pods registered with AIS (assuming you got something exciting) when
>have no paternal information?
think of it!!
>Thanks in advance -
>Joni in GA

Dear Joni,

I have often selfed particular varieties as part of my hybridising project.
Here in Oz I know that neither Barry Blyth, Graeme G or John T usually self
things, but I was curious to see what would occur.  This was, I must add, in
my early days of hybridising.

I selfed GLADIATOR'S GIFT (a LA.) and all of the offspring were half the
height and double the substance of the parent.  I have passed on this line
to my husband Bernard, who is now working on a line of shorter-growing La's.
using this as the breeding base.

GG is a chocolate red self with an eclectic mixed parentage.  This was the
reason that I chose it to self.  Of the seedlings which bloomed three were
caramel, one was pure white, several were cream and pink bicolours and the
rest were plummy/blurk rose/blurk red etc.  All, however, were half the
height and double the substance of the parent but the substance was so
strong that some of the blooms could not open properly.  I have gone on to
self some of these selfs and will know the result of my efforts in a few
weeks when the spikes open.

I have also selfed several others, but will not report on them as they are
about to bloom and I don't want to jinx them!

So, selfing can result in many different colours (at least that is the case
with La's which have not been hybridised for so many years as the bearded
Iris) but it can also bring out and intensify any faults in the parent/s so
needs to be done with caution.

I have also collected and planted out "bee pods" from varieties where
Heather-pollinated crosses failed but have found that the seed count is
usually much lower than the hand-pollinated ones (my observation with La's,
again).  I believe that the majority of these bee pods would also be selfs,
which may explain other hybridisers' reluctance to do them.

On the whole nothing too startling has eventuated, but again, this is only
my experience.  Should you obtain something special from a "bee pod" cross
you can still register it with the AIS.  You need to just note the pollen
parent as "unknown".  Naturally you know what the pod parent is, as you have
taken the pod from the plant.....

Some hybridisers of high reputation have been known to register a seedling
with "unknown" against one parent.  This is often the result of the tag
details blowing away (leaving only the string to identify it as a
hand-pollinated seedling), the snails having the tag for dinner or the seeds
falling off the kitchen table when shucking etc.  I have not had such a
disaster YET (touch wood) but have been present in certain kitchens soon
after "the event".  So using the "unknown" description is perfectly
acceptable, but be aware that you may have to own up to the reason behind it
on an iris chat line like this at some stage!!

From my experience, La. seed is best used fresh.  The germiantion rate is
never startling anyway, so fresh seed gives you the best advantage.  I do
not store my seed past the shucking-drying out stage.  Bung them into a pot
asap is my motto.   However, I know of other hybridisers who store seed for
several months before committing them to the ground.  I presume that your
general enquiries are more relating to TB's, but feel certain that the same
kind of guidelines would be best to adopt.

Hope it helps.  Heather Pryor  Oz  irihaven@pip.com.au

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