Why do the last florets to open outcross FAR more readily??

Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 00:52:25 EDT
From: William Welch

I noticed this years ago with Narcissus tazetta, now l am seeing the exact same thing on the Amaryllis belladonna hybrids, where in this case l have used Crinum pollen. As l look for the telltale yellowish or greenish seeds, it is usually in the lowest florets that the cross has taken place, in fact a couple of pods had 5 out of the 7 seeds being hybrid. Whereas on the same stems the first florets to open set fat pods of 20-40 or more seeds with very rarely a hybrid seed.

I should point out here that different clones flowered at different times, and l was if anything more diligent about pollinating the first-open florets as l know they have many more seeds per pod, so l would have thought that was where my best shot at success was. This result has held pretty consistently over the enitire season's crosses.

I have seen something similar with the tazetta narcissus, where if a variety is virtually sterile, oftentimes it will be the lowest floret in the cluster than will make a seed.

Has anyone else seen this in these or other amaryllids??

Best wishes,
Bill the Bulb Baron
William R.P. Welch
Carmel Valley, CA


Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 01:58:24 -0700
From: Ken K

I've seen it happen consistently with tetraploid Hemerocallis. If it's a variety that throws two scapes per fan, it's almost futile to attempt to pollinate the blossoms on the first scape. The second scape (generally from 2 weeks to a month later) is generally quite easy. On single-scape/fan varieties, the first few blooms will seldom make pods, and the remainder will be usable. I have no definite ideas why this happens. Some hybridizers have good luck by using diploid pollen on the first few blooms because they feel that it bumps the plant into seed producing mode.

I made quite a few crosses with Crinum pollen on Amaryllis belladonna itself this year. In general, I got two distinct sizes of seed, but I haven't noticed much of a color difference between them.

Ken
East S.F. Bay Area, Ca.
USDA Zone 9
-2?C to 38?C