Can clones reproduce sexually?

hoe_hoe_hoe(6b)February 2, 2005

I'm assuming yes, since some flowers are self-pollinating.

But what if a plant is considered "cross-pollinating"? Does this mean that a plant CAN'T be pollinated by itself or by a clone of itself? As there may be some different cases, I'm most interested in Parsley as I am trying to fix a novel mutation and I am trying to build the best strategy for doing so.


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TonyfromOz(z10 NSW Aust)

The majority of garden flowers and vegetables are self-compatible, i.e. a solitary plant of the species will set seed. My impression has been that parsley is in this category, so you should be able to let your novel plant run to seed. But whether its seedlings will display the mutation cannot be predicted, I suspect. My guess is the only way to find out is to sow as many seeds as possible in the hope that at least one seedling will have the right combination of genes.

Try putting your question to the Hybridizing forum, some of the people there know a lot more than I do about plant breeding.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 6:26AM
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If the existing plant can reproduce sexually, so can the clone.

Some plants may pollenate with themselves, while others require pollen from another plant.

Either way, this is determined by the genetic makeup and not by whether the plant was established as a clone or not.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2005 at 12:54PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Parsley is self incompatable despite its perfect flowers. There may be however a very, very small proportion of flowers that will self.

Cloning is an exact replica of the original parent. This means vegetative reproduction of some sort. Sexual reproduction randomly scrambles genetic material and despite self pollination the result is not a true clone.

The ability of a plant to cross pollinate is not exactly the same as self incompatibly or self incompatibility.

Just because a flower is self compatible (self pollinating) does not mean it cannot be cross pollinated. Peppers come to mind-they have perfect flowers and are self compatible. But, insects cross pollinate at a high rate and humans lend a hand as well. So the ability to cross pollinate does not always mean self incompatability either.

Vegetative reproduction of a pepper plant that subsequently blooms is still self compatible but can be cross pollinated just the same (as ken explains it has to do with the specific genetics of the plant).

    Bookmark   February 5, 2005 at 7:32PM
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Parsley is self-incompatible. Okay. That's important to know. Ultimately, I want my parsley to come true from seed. I was thinking of doing tissue culture on the plant initially to increase the amount of seed with which I would have to work. Knowing of the self-incompatibility now, it seems that would be a lot of wasted effort. Sounds like I need to raise a separate cultivar and just allow the genetic comingling to occur. Hopefully, the mutation will survive or, at least, reemerge in subsequent generations. I guess the upside is that I can try to incorporate other desireable features present in available cultivars.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2005 at 9:26PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)


Your parsley will come true from seed if it is not crossed with wild relatives (Queen anne's lace and wild fennel) or other cultivars. Isolation distance is 3 miles or you will have to bag flowers or cage plants. Hand pollination is possible if isolation distances are observed.

You don't need another cultivar, you just need a couple more plants. Self incompatibility means that it won't accept its own pollen (from the same plant) *not* that it needs another cultivar per se. I take it this is the only plant you have? If not then you are ok as long as they overwinter and there are others for pollination.

If this is your only plant then the question becomes: will tissue culture yield a plant in the same stage of the original's lifecycle? That is, will this one plant when tissue cultured produce 2nd year plants that will seed this year? I don't know so I'm speculating possibilities.

If so tissue culture may be a waste of time. I say *may* because having additional plants, even if they are genetically the same, ups the numbers your have to work with. I've read that about 10% of the flowers self pollinate. You will either have rely on the 10% (or less) of flowers that *might* self with some dilligent hand pollination on your part, or you have a friend/neighbor that has some 2nd year plants you can use for pollen.
If tissue culture yields the equivilant of 1st year plants, it will enable you to have additional plants that will be on the same schedule for flowering as ones started from seed this spring.

Go to the library and check out a copy of "Seed to Seed" by Suzanne Ashworth. Or buy it, it's well worth the money. I got mine in the used bookstore for about 1/2 price. Bet you can find it used on Amazon for even less. Invaluable for seed saving, pollination requirements, etc...

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 1:55PM
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>Your parsley will come true from seed if it is not crossed with wild relatives (Queen anne's lace and wild fennel)Petroselinum crispum crosses with Daucus carota and Foeniculum vulgare?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 5:09PM
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hmmmm... even if I could eradicate all the queen ann's from my 2 acre property, I don't think I could control a 3 mile radius. Not to mention the bronze fennel and angelica that I grow as well as some wild relatives that are occasionally spotted- hemlock, possibly. Looks like I'm in for hand pollination/bagging- a first.
I bought one container and I've already separated it into 3 pots- a supposedly difficult task, but one that came easily. So I guess I at least have those plants for a better fertility rate and they should be on the same bloom cycle. Only one of the three has the desired mutation.

If I should opt, though, for the one-plant reproduction route- any idea what a 10% quantity of parsley seed would amount to?
"Self incompatibility means that it won't accept its own pollen (from the same plant) *not* that it needs another cultivar per se." You've kind of lost me here. I realize I don't NEED a named cultivar, but I was considering there may be superior traits involved with one that I would want to incorporate into my finished product. Is this the point you were making? I guess I said "another cultivar" to contrast with the tc product which would be an identical clone. Or, maybe you were letting me know that plants from the same seed strain would still be genetically different enough to reproduce. I'm guessing the three plants I have were grown from seed and even if from an unknown named strain, would be fully compatible with each other. I'm taking it that you weren't saying tc clones OF PARSLEY could reproduce with each other (beyond the 10%). Am I getting this?

I do appreciate your help on the subject. I probably will look into acquiring that book.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 6:14PM
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That last bit put a different way:

Assuming pollen is SOMEHOW meeting stigma at the same rate, the following scenarios should be nearly equally productive or unproductive (per plant), depending on species:
1) the pollen of one plant is meeting the stigma from the very same plant.
2) two genetically identical clones are exchanging pollen.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 7:30PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

"Or, maybe you were letting me know that plants from the same seed strain would still be genetically different enough to reproduce."
Yes the point I was trying to make. You can use another cultivar as well if you want.

I'm taking it that you weren't saying tc clones OF PARSLEY could reproduce with each other (beyond the 10%).
No, not beyond the 10%. Sorry if I wasn't clear.

My humble apologies Hoe_hoe and Ron. The page I was reading from talks about the family as a whole and mentions only that queen anne's lace and wild fennel will contaminate a seed crop-without any clarification as to genera. Yes, I should have known this was not quite right. I know carrots will cross with queen anne's lace.

In the section specific to Parsley it does mention that parsley root will cross but is more often grown in Europe and that a wild native common in Europe will cross as well. Isolation is one mile specifically for parsley. Looks like you are in the clear Hoe-hoe, except for neighboring plants. But in this case it might be just what you want.

Very sorry about the misread.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 7:34PM
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No problem! I gained much clarity even if some of the facts were skewed. I was kind of scratching my head as to how this family could be so diverse and omnipresent and yet so promiscuous at the same time. Yes, I'm quite happy you were mistaken about that.

Hoping someone can still speak to what 10% seed productivity from a sole parsley plant would amount to, but maybe that's a different post.

Also, can anyone say if Petroselinum neapolitanum can easily cross with Petroselinum crispum?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 8:06PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

We were posting at the same time so yes that is correct.

Self incompatable in this case is that the pollen matures at a different rate than the stigma is receptive and the flowers have a long bloom time to boot. This is why they recommend hand pollination over the course of a month. Also the primary and secondary umbels supposedly produce the highest quality seeds.

Don't know how many seeds the average plant produces but there are about 9800 seeds per ounce.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 9:45PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Looks like about 200-400 per umbel for coriander so maybe holds true for parlsey??

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 10:00PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

this may help:
"There are three varieties of parsley, each with several popular cultivars. Variety crispum is the typical curly leaf parsley, with many cultivars including some that look like moss. Variety neapolitanum includes the Italian or flat-leaf parsleys which have a slightly stronger flavor than the curly leaf types. Variety tuberosum includes the Hamburg, turnip-rooted and German parsley cultivars which are grown for their flavorful parsnip-like roots."

Suzanne Ashworth maintains that Petroselinum crispum can and does cross with variety tuberosum so it would not surprize me that the other will cross as well. But can't find proof positive.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 10:14PM
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Thanks for the perseverance, Rosa. Since I have small first year plants, I guess I have some time to consider which route I want to go. I was hesitant to say at first, but my seedling P. Neapolitanum is variegated white, yellow and various greens. In the herbs forum I started a thread that was dominated by speculation that my plant was virused and I really wanted to just get some questions answered here. I've tried searching for estimated seed yield for parsley and had no luck. I'm just not sure what key words would unlock that info- it must be floating out there somewhere. Any idea about variegation heredity? From what I understand it is sometimes genetic and sometimes not (can't put my fingre on the term at the moment). The sometimes not version seems to be passed on by the seed parent. I was thinking of trying to cross with crispum as that is the more ornamental species, but there is no telling what that cross would ultimately produce. I'll probably just try to fix the quality in the neapolitanum and then worry about the possible cross.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2005 at 7:58PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

That's my understanding about the variegation as well.

I got the seed number info from Seed to Seed but searches with "seed numbers", "reproductive biology" and "parsley" came up with anywhere from 10K to 18K per plant but don't know if the higher numbers are specific to seed crop only.

You really need to get Seed to Seed as she spells out methoids for seed-to-seed saving instead of seed-to-root-to-seed saving. Might be what you want. Since you have small 1st year plants then you do have plenty of time.
Don't know about the crispum cross. I'd probably play it safe and go with P. neapolitanum at this time too.
Good luck!!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2005 at 8:36PM
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