daffodil seed set

lwallpe@juno.com lwallpe@juno.com
Mon, 30 May 2005 01:44:49 PDT
List Members,

Someone wrote and asked about pollination of daffodils (sorry, forgot to note who!)
On another list a friend posted this from this spring's experience.  Thought it might be of interest and permission was given to share it.

Linda W.
I didn't make any early crosses, but I found I have a lot of OP seed on flowers like Small Talk and Little Beauty.  This is probably due to the extremely hot weather we had while these were in bloom, but it was my understanding that in the very dry weather which we had, the pollen has nothing to grow on because the stigmatic fluid dries up so fast. 
I'm not sure why I had so many OP seed capsules.  I don't usually have much OP seed here, so this year is a first.  The funny thing is I thought they were some of the false pregnancies that Henry H was talking about and didn't watch them closely. Capsules have split and only a few seeds remained in the bottom. By the time I noticed them...the rest will come up where they're not wanted! (And probably do better than the cosseted ones in my seed flats!)  I used to deadhead the standards, but realized I was wasting my time because they just looked pregnant (were actually sterile).  
Becky, you might try the sugar-water solution that Lawrence T. wrote about in the one of the past Journals to get a heavier seed set. I did it and it really worked.  It amounts to dissolving about a teaspoon of sugar in a cup or so of water and sort of painting that solution onto the stigmas before pollinating.  You need to let it drip dry for a while if you plan to use pollen on more than one flower or the pollen gets wrecked.  Or maybe I'm just heavy handed. I should probably use a Q-tip instead of a paint brush!  In any case, I went from 1-5 seeds to numbers at least in the teens when I used the sugar water solution.
Oh, and the stigma is a three-dimensional knob.  Make sure the sugar water gets on the back of the knob, and the sides as well as the front.  Then make sure the pollen gets all over, too. It was a tip from Mrs. Link I thought I'd pass on.

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