Hand-pollination

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Fri, 27 Oct 2017 11:28:30 PDT
I'd like some expert guidance on hand-pollinating various genera of 
geophytes. I never used to worry about it because I grew my bulb 
collection in a rural area in frames, open in mild weather, and bees and 
other pollinators such as hummingbirds found them readily. Now I live in 
an insect-poor suburb, where the only early pollinators are a few 
bumblebees, and they can't seem to get through the wire mesh sides of 
the bulb house (they could if they would land and crawl through, but 
they just fly at it and bounce off). I rarely get seed on early species 
now, notably crocus and fritillaria, although I have attempted to 
hand-pollinate them.

How does one tell when the flower's reproductive parts are mature? I can 
tell when the pollen is dehiscing, but I don't know when the stigma is 
receptive. In many plants, the two processes occur at different times to 
avoid self-pollination. Is there some visual cue to this?

Thanks,

Jane McGary, Portland, Oregon, USA


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