Pollinating VFTs

From: Robert Ziemer (rrz7001@axe.humboldt.edu)
Date: Mon Aug 09 1999 - 10:04:10 PDT

Date: Mon, 09 Aug 1999 10:04:10 -0700
From: Robert Ziemer <rrz7001@axe.humboldt.edu>
To: cp@opus.hpl.hp.com
Message-Id: <aabcdefg2861$foo@default>
Subject: Pollinating VFTs

>This is perhaps a basic question, but just how does one pollinate a
>VFT? I have tried it several times already.

You have probably received a ton of replies, but here is what I have
done for years. Simply bend one flower over and rub it on another. More
specifically, when a VFT flower first opens, the stamen (anther)
"ripens" first and the pollen is ready several days before the pistil
(stigma) is ready to receive pollen. I expect this is designed to reduce
the probability of self-pollination. So, you just need to find a flower
that is a couple of days old with ripe pollen and another flower that is
a few days older with a receptive stigma and rub the anther on the
stigma. Watch the stigma closely after the flower first opens and you
will notice that the stigma first ends in a point, but within a few days
it opens and looks "juicy". At this stage, the pollen readily sticks to
the stigma. If the stigma is too young or too old, the pollen is

I have never tried the "brush technique" and wonder how long the pollen
remains viable on a brush. I suspect not very long.

>Also, what is the difference between the flower stalk going black
>because it is dying, and going black after it has been pollinated?
>Having never been successful, I just don't know.

If the flower is not successfully pollinated it shrivels and eventually
turns black. If pollinated the ovary begins to swell and the flower
(ovary) and stalk remain green until the seed ripens. When the seed is
ripe, the ovary begins to turn black (or dark brown) first from the top
down (this usually takes about 2 weeks or so after pollination). If you
wait, the papery cover over the ripe shiny-black seed ruptures and the
seeds are eventually dispersed. I usually wait until I see the shiny
black seeds before I harvest them. However, if you wait too long (a
couple of days) after the rupture, the seeds will be scattered.

I hope this has been helpful and does not propagate false botanical
information. This is simply what I have observed.

Bob Ziemer

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