Bowiea volubilis seed production

David Schaeffer via pbs pbs@lists.pacificbulbsociety.net
Tue, 05 Jan 2021 12:14:55 PST
Since I mentioned Bowiea in a recent post...what's the deal with Bowiea and
selfing? I have had Bowiea "nana" for many years and it selfs easily and
prolifically - I find myself discarding large amounts of harvested seed, in
fact.

I assume "nana", which I obtained from Grigsby's (well, a nursery that
obtained it from Grigsby's) is what used to be called B. kilimandscharica -
it certainly matches the few photos I can find of that plant and is
obviously distinct from the "typical" horticultural form (the familiar
bloated monster with its wispy vine).

But said "bloated monster" seemingly will not self. I've even tried one of
Steve Hammer's mesemb tricks, applying pollen on consecutive days, to no
avail. I often get fruit, but they yellow and wither along with the vine at
the end of the season, containing no viable seed. OTOH, I see seed offered
for sale with some regularity, particularly from European sellers.

I recall academic references to B. volubilis showing frequent
irregularities during meiosis, and some websites mentioning the plant
doesn't set seed often.

What's your experience with the "typical" B. volubilis - the type with
potentially fist-sized bulbs and finer-branched pendant inflorescences,
whose bulbs tend to stay at the surface of the soil - as far as seed
production goes?

Thanks and regards,

Dave
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