Daylilies forum: Pollen question

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Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
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bxncbx
Jul 19, 2015 5:08 PM CST
I'm just getting into hybridizing and I noticed something strange. I'd say 99.9% of my daylilies have what I consider "normal" pollen-bright orange & fluffy. However, I have one cultivar that has lemon yellow pollen. It also doesn't produce as much pollen as the others. Does anyone else have a plant like this? Do you know if the pollen is fertile? I just tried using some today but it's really hot so maybe the pod won't set due to the weather. Here's a picture of normal pollen & pollen from Carousel Princess:
Thumb of 2015-07-19/bxncbx/18f09c

The background is a white sheet of paper but it looks blue. The pollen color difference is correct though. Just wondering if anyone else has come across this too.

Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Jul 20, 2015 9:02 AM CST
It is likely that the yellowish pollen is not fertile.
Maurice
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Jul 20, 2015 11:39 AM CST
Interesting. Most of my pollen is more of a yellow color and I have seeds from that pollen. What color is pollen supposed to be?
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Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
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bxncbx
Jul 20, 2015 1:00 PM CST
Becky,
Sometimes the normal pollen looks more yellow than orange but never as pale as that of Carousel Princess. It almost matches the flower color.
Thumb of 2015-07-20/bxncbx/c7004e

Thanks Maurice! I thought maybe it wouldn't be fertile. I did do some crosses with it but I doubt I'll get any pods. It is pod fertile though so I can do crosses that way. Smiling

Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Jul 20, 2015 1:02 PM CST
Elena - Thanks for clearing up my confusion. Thumbs up
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Name: Ashton & Terry
Jones, OK (Zone 7a)
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kidfishing
Jul 20, 2015 1:23 PM CST
Some yellow pollen is not good, but I do have some daylilies that have yellow pollen that work.
Celtic Butterfly has yellow pollen but I have seedlings from it.

Some of our seedlings have really hard yellow-white pollen, that pollen is definetly no good.
If it is fluffy I would guess that it is good.
Kidfishing
Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
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DogsNDaylilies
Jul 21, 2015 11:35 AM CST
I think some of the older cultivars have smaller, less-pollen filled, lighter anthers. At least, that's what I was assuming, but I'm a new hybridizer, too! Off of the top of my head, I think the ones that have the smaller anthers/less pollen in my garden are Saint Elmo's Fire, "Red Challenge" (an old NOID), Starman's Quest, Black Plush, and Night Embers, and maybe one or two others. Considering what is currently producing seed pods though, maybe the 'poor pollinator' theory is more accurate.

I would say my most difficult pollinator, though, is Jim's Pick and a seedling that I had, both of which have large, fluffy pollen heads, which doesn't fall in line with the aforementioned theory. Blinking
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
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Natalie
Jul 21, 2015 12:37 PM CST
Carousel Princess is listed in the database as both pod and pollen fertile, so I would think that the pollen would be okay.

Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Carousel Princess')
Natalie
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Jul 21, 2015 1:05 PM CST
However, there are no cultivars registered in the AHS online database as having 'Carousel Princess' as a parent; having registered offspring would definitively indicate whether the plant was male/pollen-fertile, female/pod-fertile or both. Unfortunately, lack of registered offspring is not hard evidence.

Yellowish-whitish, or lumpy, "hard" pollen tends not to be good. However, plants can have perfectly normal looking pollen and that pollen can nevertheless be sterile.
Maurice
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
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Natalie
Jul 21, 2015 4:07 PM CST
There are many fertile plants in the database without registered children, so I'd never use that as a guideline as to whether or not the pollen is fertile. Maybe it doesn't make the best children, which could be another reason why there are none registered. It seems to me that if the hybridizer lists it as pod and pollen fertile, then it probably is.
Natalie
[Last edited by Natalie - Jul 21, 2015 4:42 PM (+)]
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Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Hybridizer Peonies Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Organic Gardener
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bxncbx
Jul 21, 2015 4:40 PM CST
Okay, now I wish I had tried hybridizing with it sooner! I guess I'll try to do some crosses now that it isn't so hot and see what happens.

I can't say the pollen is fluffy, more like grainy but that isn't quite right either. It's kinda hard to tell since it produces so little pollen and the anthers are tiny to begin with!

If I get any pods this year from the pollen I'll definitely plant some seeds. If I get any plants next year we'll know for sure!

Thanks for all the advice everyone! I'll let everyone know if I get any pods!
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Jul 21, 2015 8:10 PM CST
The entry in the database lists it as pod fertile and pollen fertile but how does one know/verify that it was the hybridizer who listed it that way? Or what exactly the evidence is that the entry is based on or how reliable that evidence is?

Unfortunately pollen fertility is a bit more complicated than a test of simply pollinating a flower with a specific pollen. That flower may have been already pollinated naturally by an insect before the test pollen is placed on the stigma.

When pollen is not fertile whether a pod will set or not will depend on the type of biological problem. If 'Carousel Princess' has infertile pollen then either no pods will be set or typically they will set but abort relatively soon after starting to develop.

There are other circumstances that cause pollen to not be fertile. If a cultivar opens its flowers the evening before or during the night and it rains sufficiently, after the pollen is fluffy (or perhaps possibly it is extremely humid) the pollen can be water damaged (basically some or all of it explodes) That can cause a change in colour and in texture so that the pollen may resemble genetically sterile pollen and not be fertile or be fertile with difficulty.
Maurice
Name: Larry
Augusta, GA area (Zone 8a)
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LarryW
Jul 23, 2015 1:35 PM CST
This is pure conjecture on my part, but I will add it to the discussion - - - I have heard it said that the less golden-yellow the pollen is, the lower the fertility.

In my garden, Randy Stephens, Bubba on Tour, and Leslie Renee are examples of those having golden-yellow pollen and all are quite fertile. Alan Lane Agin has pollen that is much less golden, but is still fertile. I have one seedling that has gray "pollen" while its siblings have golden-yellow pollen. I tried a few crosses with the gray pollen and had none take, not even an aborted pod, so I presume it is infertile. I also have one cultivar in particular, Blissful Blackberry Pie, that has lemon-yellow pollen that is, as you describe, lumpy and hard to use. Further, it seems to have low fertiliey based on the percentge of successful crosses. I freeze pollen for future use and see some (sorry, can't remember which, but both cultivars and seedlings) come out of the freezer vary hard and lumpy and difficult to use while most are still fluffy, so this seems to be dependent on the particular plant. This same plant, Blissful Blackberry Pie, also often fails to produce a viable pistil when the temperature gets hot.

Larry

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