Edit: Looks like I walked away from this for too long, and Maurice got here with the goods first...
kidfishing said:Can you actually have both tet and dip pollen from a tetraploid conversion?
Yes, as I mentioned, you can have all sorts of combinations, such as tet and diploid blooms on the same scape, or even individual stamens that are tet and dip (or combinations of each) from the same blossom.
Should I pay Jamie Gossard to test the ploidy? I don't know that I can tell the chromosomes by looking under a microscope.
There are other ways besides a microscope to get an idea if a plant has some tetraploid characteristics. Feel the foliage of a fairly mature leaf down low where the leaves start to separate - if they're noticeably thicker and stiffer, and have a rougher surface texture than the diploid, then you are seeing the effects of treatment. Look at the ovary of the flower—conversions tend to have a thicker, shorter ovary, thicker, stiffer petals, thicker stamens. The flower segments are often so stiff (and can be differently proportioned) that they don't open as relaxed and voluptuous as when they were diploids. The flower could be noticeably larger than the diploid. Most of the time I was able to detect some sort of polyploidy by these simple field observations, and the microscope generally confirmed them. There are exceptions though, that's why the microscope is valuable.
Chromosome tests are pretty expensive, considering that you'd want to test treated plants fairly regularly until you get to the point where the plant shows signs of stability. A decent microscope would probably pay for itself many times over in the first season of use.
A microscope is pretty easy for anyone to use. Gather pollen from a diploid and a tetraploid, mix the two on the same slide. Find a magnification that allows you to see the difference in their size - something to where a pollen grain would take up something like 1/50 of the field, maybe a little stronger. Some pollens of equal ploidy are naturally bigger, some are differently shaped, so what you're looking for is a feel for the range that dip and tet pollens generally fall into. If the reticle is graduated, it's a little easier to see.
We hope to have our first seedlings from the tet conversions blooming this spring. I would sure like to be certain that these Tet Texas Kaleidoscope X Tet Super Fancy Face seedlings are actually tetraploid.
Ironically, unless you have extremely easy-to-use conversions, those are the crosses that have the best odds of being diploid. Fortunately, there is a very simple way to check the seedlings, and that is to to cross them with known diploids and tetraploids and see where you get full-term, viable seed. Hopefully you do get some tets from that cross - they might really be something.