Saturday, April 21, 2012
The Largest Blotch - A Deadend?
Hybridizing this year began in earnest about 2 weeks ago. As mentioned in the last post, this is also the time that I first get to see last year's survivors blooming outside for the first time. With the Hulthemias, there are many surprises. The blotches are typically larger and darker, and the growth pattern tends to change. I also get the chance to see how they fare to bugs and diseases. Thrips love some blooms, but leave others alone. The same is true for the curculio beetle. Again, this year we have had just the right amount of downy mildew - no seedling deaths, but significant defoliation in those seedlings that are highly susceptible.
One seedling (I discussed this seedling in an earlier post last year in Smooth Hulthemias), keeps surprising me. It appears to be thornless (or nearly so), it has very good disease resistance, and to date, it has the largest blotch that I have ever seen in terms of percent of the length of the petal that the blotch covers. So far, I have collected pollen from about 6 or 7 blooms, and wouldn't you know it - it appears to be pollen sterile (no pollen is releasing from the dried anthers). I am now trying to pollinate it with other Hulthemias to see if it will set hips. I sure hope this isn't a "dead-end".