1999 Our Adventure - Part 6

 Can It Happen?

Click images to enlarge

Having crossed every Victoria that dared thrust flowers above the water with success, we still dream of crossing Victoria with Euryale ferox. Since they are essentially cousins, this may be a possibility. The ideal Victorias to experiment with are 'Adventure' and 'Longwood Hybrid' since their usefulness in making new hybrids is limited and we always have F2 seeds coming out our ears. We grew two Euryales in order to double our chances of having flowers in synch.

But what is "in synch" for Euryale? Since the flowers open underwater most of the year and there is thinking that they self before they open, how in the world could we know when to cut them and harvest pollen?

Wet inside
 We cut some (just barely) open flowers and found them wet inside, no surprise. Watching the plants carefully, it appeared that they "peeked" open a sepal or two the day before they really opened. We cut several of these "first day flowers" (?), found them dry inside and shedding pollen. At the peak of the season, the plants bloomed in a predictable rhythm and we were able to harvest pollen regularly.

Dry inside



 Euryale anther

 Euryale anther closer

We had numerous opportunities to take the Euryale pollen to Victoria. Most of the resulting pods went full term (or almost) but yielded only small brown undeveloped seeds. In several cases, we found a single fully developed seed in the ruptured pod. We should assume that this was the result of accidental self pollination but we were using the Ring method of emasculation, absolutely clean. We are trying now to sprout those few seeds.

An interesting bonus was looking at the Euryale flower interior more closely. The anther is shaped quite differently than Victoria or Nymphaea. Usually the pollen is single-celled. One day, however, we found both single-celled and tetrad much more like Victoria pollen. We sent the pictures to Dr. Ed Schneider, who explained that this was not impossible, that pollens begin as tetrads and separate very quickly (except Victoria). He also suggested that Dr. Jeffrey Osborn, a specialist in pollen, might be interested in what we were seeing.

Jeff was interested! The second time we found tetrads in the Euryale pollen, we preserved it in alcohol and sent it to him in a film cannister. The cannister was crushed in shipment and our sample irretrievable. At about that time, the plants bloom rhythm changed and we were unable to harvest accurately.

We are hoping that a visit from Jeff proposed for next summer will work out. He hopes to study Victoria and Euryale pollen development and just maybe his work will help us all determine to potential of the cross between the two.

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It Begins Again | Adventure The Hybrid | Scope Stuff | The Ring Thing
Enchanted Forest | Can It Happen? |
Open The Door!

Our Adventure Overview | 1998 The Adventure Begins
1999 The Adventure Continues | 2000 A Very Bad Year | 2001 A Banner Year
2002 An Even Better Year | 2003 We Like It Like This | 2004 Trust
2005 Recovery | 2006 Normal? | 2007 Weird | 2008 Year of the Hare
2009 Year of the (White) Tortoise

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