Fruit of Our Labor

What We Hope For!

Philodendron seedhead Blue Odora seedhead

The two pictures on this page show what we always hope for each time we go out with pollen brush and vial and dust up some pistils.

The top picture shows a full set of ripe berries on the Philodendron "Dwarf speciosum"; this was a cross we did last year and some of these are now seedlings in 4 inch pots.

The bottom picture is a ripening head of berries on one of our Alocasia odora "Blue". These are what we euphemistically call a "double cross" because when we have only a limited number of blooms, we may decide to place pollen from two different parents on the same inflorescence. When we do this, we select two parents with divergently different characteristics so that we stand a good chance of distinguishing the progeny, should both crosses take and we end up with a mixture of fertile seeds. We also place one type of pollen on one side of the spadix and the other type on the remaining side.

So, for example, we might place A. odora pollen on the left side of the pistil area (facing the open inflorescence) and A. "Vangie Go" pollen on the right side.

We realize that this is not a strict scientific technique, but often we also have to work with limited numbers of inflorescences and are faced with the choice between no attempt at a hybrid and a "double cross", as we have described above. The lure of new and unusual progeny wins out in these cases.

Seed set notes. An apparent bumper crop of hybrid seed set may have you wondering where you will grow all the progeny, but our experience has demonstrated that berry set does not mean seed set. One of our Alocasia parents has produced so many berries in response to hybrid pollination that we were beginning to wonder how we were going to be able to grow them out in our limited space. The question was settled when we cleaned a particularly heavy head of berries and found less than a dozen seeds with a good chance of being fertile.

Besides that observation is the possibility that a given inflorescence may have "selfed" itself from a neighboring inflorescence on the same plant. We have had this occur as well, and even observed berry set when no pollination attempt was made with a given inflorescence.

So that is why we don't consider a cross to have worked until we have seedlings that are large enough to show the hybrid characteristics.

To see more of what we hope for, click here.

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