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-   -   Why Not Just Use the Anthers? (http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=45891)

Nan_PA_6b August 22, 2017 04:25 PM

Why Not Just Use the Anthers?
 
In all the instructions on how to cross-pollinate, one is instructed to shake or scrape the pollen off the anther to collect it, and take the pollen to the female.

Why not just take the anther to the female and rub the anther on it? Surely this gets the maximum pollen where you need it? Is there a drawback?

Nan

Brent M August 22, 2017 10:07 PM

Sorry, just joining in. Why not emasculate 1 flower, use toothbrush to vibrate pollen from another flower onto dark lens, then back to the emasculated to rub the pollen on the stigma? Has worked very well for me every time.

Nan_PA_6b August 22, 2017 11:06 PM

Is there anything wrong with just taking the whole anther to the female? It just seems removing the pollen from the anther gives you more intermediate steps for things to go wrong.

I've been using pollen still on the anther to try to cross pollinate. What is the advantage to removing the pollen from the anther?

TIA,
Nan

Brent M August 23, 2017 10:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nan_PA_6b (Post 661544)
Is there anything wrong with just taking the whole anther to the female? It just seems removing the pollen from the anther gives you more intermediate steps for things to go wrong.

I've been using pollen still on the anther to try to cross pollinate. What is the advantage to removing the pollen from the anther?

TIA,
Nan

Pollen has to come out of the anther at some point. Removing the flower is another step. Dropping pollen is a great sign that the pollen is viable/ready and you get to keep the donor tomato. Taking the anther and drying it out under a lamp could help release the pollen if it's humid and it's not dropping. Should open and release easily enough once dry. Anyway, I've only been breeding for a few years so if there's another reason for removing the anther, I'd love to hear it. Always learning here.

crmauch August 23, 2017 01:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nan_PA_6b (Post 661470)
In all the instructions on how to cross-pollinate, one is instructed to shake or scrape the pollen off the anther to collect it, and take the pollen to the female.

Why not just take the anther to the female and rub the anther on it? Surely this gets the maximum pollen where you need it? Is there a drawback?

Nan

The anthers don't always open so the pollen isn't released. If you look closely at an tomato anther it looks vaguely like a plastic coin purse -- the two sides are rolled over the inner surface of the anther (where the pollen is).

(Other species of plants do fully expose the surface of the anther and your method then would work fine.)

crmauch August 23, 2017 02:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brent M (Post 661530)
Sorry, just joining in. Why not emasculate 1 flower, use toothbrush to vibrate pollen from another flower onto dark lens, then back to the emasculated to rub the pollen on the stigma? Has worked very well for me every time.


Well when vibrating works, it can work really well, but when I started doing crosses, I had the problem that the variety I wanted as pollen donor often wouldn't give any pollen (multiple flowers). I don't know whether it was time of year, weather, or what. So I've gone another way and am generally happy with it.

My method: http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=37724

bower August 23, 2017 10:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nan_PA_6b (Post 661544)
Is there anything wrong with just taking the whole anther to the female? It just seems removing the pollen from the anther gives you more intermediate steps for things to go wrong.

I've been using pollen still on the anther to try to cross pollinate. What is the advantage to removing the pollen from the anther?

TIA,
Nan

Nan, if it works for you, then it's fine nothing wrong with it. :)
Personally I find the emasculated flowers to be somewhat delicate. Just dragging the pistil through pollen I collected is a challenge and sometimes they get loose and the cross fails. So for me, trying to transfer pollen from a whole anther would be even more challenging.

It's interesting that pollen collection can be such an issue. It seems in my greenhouse the optimal time for pollen is between 11 am and 4 pm, and it can be difficult if the weather is humid too.
Also a flower may look mature to me but doesn't release any pollen. Another one slightly more mature gives lots of pollen. It's not that easy to judge. So if I was trying to lay an anther on an emasculated flower, I would have a hard time to know if it was even ready to release pollen unless I had already tapped it to collect pollen...

One thing that Tom Wagner recommended was to collect pollen from several flowers at one time, so you also have pollen at various stages of maturity.

So I think the usual practices are built on experience and are intended to maximize your chance of success.
But that doesn't mean that you can't have a successful cross using another method. It may just be more difficult and more failures along the way. JMO.

Nan_PA_6b August 23, 2017 11:03 PM

Actually, I'm not having success using the whole anther. I've been trying all summer to get a successful cross. Gotta start collecting pollen...

Nan

crmauch August 24, 2017 10:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nan_PA_6b (Post 661677)
Actually, I'm not having success using the whole anther. I've been trying all summer to get a successful cross. Gotta start collecting pollen...

Nan

Nan,

Even using my 'method' my results aren't always what I'd like. This year (and I did these late, so I may still get nothing), I did 5 crosses -- 3 on White Queen and 2 on Ozark Orange. These were mainly 'fun' crosses. I pollinated the White Queen blossoms 3 times over 3 days and the Ozark Orange over 2. Only 1 cross 'took' (one of the White Queens). Other years and times, I've had much better success rates (never 100%).

BTW, one reason I store the tomato pollen in the fridge is that it extends the life of the pollen. Not all pollen can survive very long, but the nightshade family generally has durable pollen. In theory it should be viable the whole tomato season.

Good luck on your future crosses.


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