Crinum Pt Claire, and pollen question

J.E. Shields
Sun, 18 Jan 2004 10:01:06 PST
Hi Joe, Ken, and all,

In hybridizing Crinum, it seems that most crosses are infertile.  When you 
get a primary cross (i.e., interspecific, between two pure species parents) 
you should test the pollen for fertility by a backcross on the more 
tolerant of the two parents.  If bulbispermum is one of the parents, test 
the pollen on bulbispermum.  One problem with putting exogenous pollen on 
C. moorei is the tendency of moorei to produce parthenogenic (i.e., 
asexual) seeds.  If you pollinate moorei and get big seeds, they are almost 
certain to be parthenogenic.  If there are also seeds in the moorei fruit 
that are no bigger than a garden pea, try growing them on; they might be 
true hybrids (from sexual fertilization).

In any case, a pollination attempt that fails does not unequivocally prove 
that the pollen is infertile.  Germinate some on a microscope slide and 
then examine under the 'scope.  If some of the pollen grains produce tubes, 
it might be fertile on the right parent.

WHITE QUEEN is a cross from C. macowanii.  Macowanii pollen actually sets 
seeds on 'White Queen.'  Not many germinated, but I have one or two small 
seedlings from ['White Queen' x macowanii] growing.


When testing or breeding for hardiness, be sure to try accessions of C. 
macowanii from many different locations in southern Africa.  It has a very 
wide range, and some forms of it are very likely to show considerably more 
cold tolerance than others.

Jim Shields
in central Indiana (USA)

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA
Tel. ++1-317-867-3344     or      toll-free 1-866-449-3344 in USA

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