Seedlings and their potential outcomes

summersunlight(5b)September 21, 2012

I'm going to be starting some adenium seeds soon. I know not to expect them to be "name worthy" unique cultivars or anything, but I enjoy the experience of growing from seed and I think it'll be fun to see if I do get anything interesting (i.e., not the normal pink) though I think I'll be ok with it if it does end up being pink. :)

I know that people have commented that most seedlings end up being plain pink. Do you think this is because the pink single flower is dominant genetically, or is it that when people think they're buying the seed of a "fancy" variety they may not be getting what they were told they were getting?

I've noticed that a few people who have bought seed from Mr. Ko in Taiwan seem to have ended up with interesting seedlings (though of course not exactly like the parent plant). Are some of the growers more advanced at selectively breeding seed strains than others are?

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Pink is more dominant genetically than red for the flower color of adenium obesum. It really is that simple.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 8:08PM
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Hi summersunshine,
I can only speak from what I have researched and grown. I started some seed last fall and kept under lights. I then started more in early spring and they are close to the same size as the ones I started in the fall.
The pink is dominant, but a lot depends also on whether the seller of seed is particular and trustworthy to sell what he/she states. Some are open pollinated and some hand pollinated. Not to make matters confusing.
AdeniumKo is very well respected in the Adenium world for good seed.
I have purchased a lot of seed from Adenium center and have had excellent germination rates and his business practice and proceedures are impeccable.
I have not had any started from seed bloom, but I do not expect to get a duplicate, but this is common in a lot of other genus also.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 8:21PM
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Seeds from thai growers most often end up pink simply because they are not educated in basic genetics, nor do they care for the most part. hand pollinating a flower guarantees nothing other that in a certain number of seedlings there *might* be one that resembles one or both of the parents, but depending on species that number can be in the thousands. most will revert to the wild type, which is obviously very dominant.
in order to stabilize a genetic line, you must know and control much more that just one or two generations (thai mostly have no idea what the polen donors are two generations back, Mark Dimmit wrote about it too somewhere). so basically what you do is take two specimens of the same kind, breed them, then select for the wanted trait among the offspring, then breed that offspring among themselves and do the selection process again and again. what you'll be looking for is the number of seedlings that will be similar to parent plant. through the generations the number of like seedlings should grow, until your line produces 100% identical offspring, at least in the trait you are interested in.
good hybridizers, like Dimmit or Ko, have a detailed record of the breedings for each seedling. thai just raise thousands of seedlings and get lucky every once in a while. also, you have to take into account the number of fraudulent sellers, i read once how the guy from durham botanicals was asked to sell a thousand of the cheapest seeds he had, color or anything else didn't matter. only to see the same person sell those seeds on ebay with stolen photos as fancy hybrids.

the good thing about hybridizing plants (unlike for instance dogs, whose breeds were created in more or less the same way), is that you can very easily clone them an infinite number of times. so basically all you need is to get a hold of a single bud or even a tissue sample from a good specimen, and you can clone it an infinite number of times by grafting onto pink rootstock. that is the method behind thai growers, raise thousands, get lucky, graft onto the junk rest. but this way the seeds those plants produce are still at the beginning, still there might be only one seedling in thousands to produce a good flower/caudex form or whatever.

so you may now see that if you want interesting seedlings, you better buy seeds from someone who knows a bit about trait inheritance and hybridizing (plus you will be supporting science and scientific approach, instead of mass producing).
the other way to do it is to sow seeds knowing they will be plain, but spend a bit more cash to get hold of a sample of a plant with the flower you like, then clone it onto your seedlings and infinite number of times :)
once you have an interesting sample, you can always try hybridizing yourself, but even this is smarter if you start of with seeds from good hybridizers which have already been selected to produce more good offspring and then cross with something else.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 6:50AM
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Simply said what Teyo explained regarding cross pollination. Genetically better (color, shape, etc) parents have the potential to produce the more interesting offspring. I've been crossing brugmansias for about 15 years. When I started almost all offspring were single white blooms, regardless of the parents. Over the past decade we've been able to get many more of the European hybrids and now I get more colored blooms and doubles then single whites.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 9:38AM
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Thanks for the input folks. When I was looking online I found some interesting bits of advice on Adenium genetics from David Clulow in Venezuela:

"Most of the newer white cultivars such as âÂÂSpindriftâ or âÂÂArctic Snowâ are virtually 100 percent homozygous for white. If you cross these cultivars together you will get virtually 100 white flowers. You can easily tell which seedling are going to have white flowers as when just germinating the stems are jade green with no trace of red in them. I do not like using âÂÂArtic Snowâ as it has the unfortunate habit of developing brown spots whenever any water gets on the flowers, a most unfortunate trait which unfortunately is passed to its offspring."

I thought it was very interesting that he had noticed that you can predict white adeniums at the seedling stage apparently. I'll try to remember to make note of any differences in the seedlings when I start them.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 7:09PM
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