Pollenation techniques

Amaryllis Study Group via pbs pbs@mailman1.ibiblio.org
Mon, 15 May 2017 11:10:38 PDT
 Jim you have probably heard/read almost all this. Just covering the spectrum of my experiences of  hippeastrum (species & hybrids = both commercial and amature > which are not selfed and selected several generations to sharpen specific characters) and intergeneric attempts with zephyranthes, cooperii, lycoris, etc. 
First I ignore rules that say you can't do X. I try not to assume. I specifically do things no one else does. I have lots of failures, but the successes are spectacularly surprising and pleasing. { I have hippeastrum papilio and a dozen named commercial varieties mature bulbs & yearlings growing & blooming in old live oak trees 8 to 15 feet off the ground in north central Florida also pygmy date palms in south Florida}
So ::I try to use or gather pollen when it is powdery. I use glassine envelopes like for coin / stamp collecting. I use refrigeration > glassine in heavy paper in non plastic boxes, dry cold. Same for freezing. I do not use hair dryer or other hot wind in drying pollen. I use indoor sun on glassine envelope propped open usually not more than .5 hour. I take pollen, but not parts that have plant juices that may promote fungous & rot. Fold the top fifth of the envelope and the fold back the top corners to make a reuseable latch. I apply pollen when it sticks. If it does not stick , I try the next day and the next day until it sticks.I apply with a sharp wooden toothpick when I AM BEING CAREFUL (YOU WILL KNOW AT THE LAST TECHNIQUE).You can cover the  pistils with a lightweight glassine envelope cut short if the plant is exposed to flying pollenators. once ants crawled inside, but I did not see any sign that unintended pollination occurred.You can pollenate cut flowers and take them all the way to seed. You must change the water Every day or put 3-4 drops of bleach in the vase water and change the water every week. Before you can see contamination in the water it will be drawn up inside the scape and soften it with rot. one day you will find it bent on the vase. and the flowers or seed pods knocked off and lying on the table where the soft stalk bent and the umble hit the side of the vase and broke off the flowers or pods from their own weight. Please note that there appears to be a filtration point at the top of the stalk of the scape where the microinfections stop sort of like the blood brain barrier in humans. If  seed pods or flowers break off at this point, pick it up put clean water in a dish or bud vase and carry on with your breeding project.
Now, I have never seen anyone else use or teach this next technique. Make a hard copy for your notebook for when you need it like you have only one rare bulb or unique hybrid and you want it to try to receive a range of pollens from other plants and varieties.
The trifid (3 prong) tip of the pistil can be pollenated very carefully with 3 different pollens by using a sharp wooden toothpick that has no paint or oil or finish on it. Powdery pollen will stick lightly on the wood and transfer easily to the receptive pistil. The tubes that form to carry the pollen cells to the ovary remain separate if not damaged or contaminated with multiple pollens. If you are using pollens that make different size or even shape seeds you may see lumpy or uneven pods. This does not mean that one of the crosses was aborted or infertile. Length of gestation seems to be controlled by the ovary so wait until the pods turn yellow or brown and crack open by themselves. I hope some of this may be of assistance. I have not tried crosses like you are doing. Just a month ago I bought some of these bulbs with this in mind. I have my own questions.
E. William Warren, Amaryllis Study Group :: I invite anyone to comment, question, or argue on my techniques. If you have tried similar without success, I am agreeable to informative exchanges. 
If you get black seeds with white marks on them , this does not mean they are necessarily infertile as you may have read. The woman who founded the amaryllis/hippeastrum  forum found and photgraphed her technique to get them to sprout.
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