Bigenerics by design............maybe

LisaCLV(HI)March 21, 2010

We've talked about a common problem with many bigeneric hybrids, namely that the most striking traits of each parent tend to disappear when crossed with something too genetically far removed. There are far too many mad scientist experiments out there that are less attractive than either parent, just because that was the only other thing in bloom at the time.

On the other hand, I do believe there is potential for some interesting and even commercial hybrids across genus lines, provided you choose parents that will complement each other rather than cancel each other out. That is what came to mind when I saw these two plants coming into bloom at the same time:

In the back is Bromelia scarlatina, and in front is Neo. Victoria (red). They both have the same color sheme, right down to the petals. No markings to get lost in the mix, the only real variable here is the shape of the leaves. Imagine a red-cupped plant with broad, spoon-shaped leaves. You'd buy that, wouldn't you?

Will it work genetically? That remains to be seen. I've never heard of anyone using a Bromelia as a parent in a cross, bigeneric or not. Neither parent selfs; they are in the same subfamily, but I have no idea how close the relationship is. I'm trying to pollinate them both ways, but I think the Neo will likely be the better seed parent. Both produce copious pollen, but the stigma on the scarlatina is hard to find, being small and sunken way beneath the stamens. Also the petals on the Brom turn brown as soon as the flower opens, and there is some moisture in the flower. It looks as though it may have only a brief window of opportunity, too. Today was day 3, and it appears it may only have one more day left. This is fairly unfamiliar territory, but nothing ventured, nothing gained!

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sunshine_qld

They will be interesting plants if they take.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 5:54AM
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udo69

Hi Lisa,

Very nice plants. It's very difficult to guess what the result is. I think there is no bigeneric between Bromelia and Neoregelia. xBromoregelia or xNeomelia.;-) Hope you will succeed in this mission.

Cheers
Yong

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 7:35AM
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vriesea

I can see where you are going with this Lisa ,if you lose half the colour of the neo and half the spoon shape leaves of the other ,you will still have a fairly colourfull plant with spoon shaped leaves ,the thing is ( as I see it ) how strong is the red factor in the Neo ? We all have to do some experimental crossings ,as thats the only way to find out,most bigenerics leave me cold as most turn out crap ,due to as you correctly stated ,they are to far removed ,or all hopes are pinned on a striking feature ( like Chantinii's banding ) i do hope you are succesfull ,I am curious enough as a hybridizer to want to see what is lost and what is gained here, shape wise it would be hard to find 2 more unalike plants ,So i wish you every success in pollinating Lisa ,cheers ,Jack

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 7:44AM
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bromadams(10b)

Lisa, I crossed Nid Leprosa with a Bromelia and got a dozen seeds or so but none germinated. I'd give it try. In your case, I'm not sure which plant will dominate, and while I'd guess the Neo, you might find that scarlatina dominates. My theory is that the "newer" species dominates. Scarlatina may be a fairly new species I just don't know.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 9:54AM
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hotdiggetydam

If the pollen is wet on the scalatina, I don't see the neo producing viable seed. Maybe the scarlatina won't care if the ollen is dry from the neo.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 11:12AM
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bromadams(10b)

FYI, I did my cross at 10am on the longest day of the year (for me anyways). Bromelia pollen was a bit clumpy.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 11:33AM
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stephania

It seem to be a kind of sci-fi :^)) Lisa

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 11:48AM
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LisaCLV(HI)

The pollen itself isn't wet, HDD (although as Nick says, it's a little clumpy). It's more like the brown petals turn mushy and give off moisture. I wasn't sure how that would affect the potential for seed set on the Brom, but I'll try it again today if I can find the stigma. It's kind of a "sloppy" environment inside the scarlatina flower compared to a Neo.

I won't be surprised if it doesn't take, or if the seeds aren't viable. I also would not be terribly surprised if the amount of red pigment at anthesis was reduced or even absent, as Jack sugggests. That often happens in bigenerics, even if both sides have that trait. In other combinations it has come through, however, so that gives me hope. I can see the desired result in my head and it seems reasonably doable to get something with all of the shared traits of both, and form midway between the two. Whether nature agrees, we shall see.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 1:59PM
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splinter1804

Hi everyone,

Good luck Lisa, and "Long live the hybridizer"!

All the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 2:13PM
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bromadams(10b)

Lisa, I also put pollen (from two notoriously universal donors) on my Bromelia and got nothing. My notes said: "Bromelia stigma is small and way down in there." My Bromelia did self, but I emasculated the two flowers I pollinated and got nothing.

I have a B. humilis that is starting to flush so I'll probably spread some of its pollen around but I doubt that I'll bother to put any on it. I'm not worried about getting a good cross. This is pure experimentation. I just want to see what works.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 2:32PM
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LisaCLV(HI)

Which Bromelia did you use the first time, Nick? If I had B. humilis, I'd try it with a Neo too. Might be kind of like a big xNeophytum. I wouldn't mess with any of the giant monster species, though.

In the meantime, take a look at Dorothy Berg's photo of B. scarlatina below. Hers is much less lanky than mine, and looks a bit like what I had imagined the offspring of these two might look.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 2:53PM
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bryan69

Lisa I also tried a cross with bro serra the varigated one with dyckia brevifolia . Got seeds but no good. Now that would have been a cool plant that clumps like brevifolia and varigated.I wasen't suppose to work anyway but weird things have happened before.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 9:55PM
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bryan69

Lisa I also tried a cross with bro serra the varigated one with dyckia brevifolia . Got seeds but no good. Now that would have been a cool plant that clumps like brevifolia and varigated.I wasen't suppose to work anyway but weird things have happened before.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 9:57PM
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bromadams(10b)

Lisa, I'm not sure what my Bromelia was but I'd guess sylvicola.

The big problems I see with humilis is it's not cold hardy and you'd probably be in trouble if you gave it a tank that holds water.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 10:50PM
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LisaCLV(HI)

Yeah, that wouldn't have worked on two different levels, Bryan. Dyckia and Bromelia are in different subfamilies, so any real progeny would have been a taxonomic miracle! I'm kind of surprised you even got seeds, but sometimes alien pollen will do that, they just won't be viable. In any event, they wouldn't have been variegated. One can dream, though.

Why would giving humilis a tank cause trouble, Nick? It probably wouldn't do that anyway, xNeophytums don't have tanks. Cold hardiness is not an issue for me. I suppose I should keep that sort of thing in mind as far as global marketability, but as long as I can grow it here it's not enough of a reason not to do it.

Well, I have a new wrinkle to report. Up to now I'd only been looking at the plants at midmorning when I knew the Neo would likely be receptive. Today I happened to look at them about 4:00 in the afternoon, and lo and behold, the Bromelia flowers were all wide open and perky looking, not brown and mushy as I'd been seeing them in the morning. The darn thing is apparently receptive in the PM! Who knew? Since those were the last flowers and I didn't have any more Neo pollen, there wasn't much I could do about it except collect its pollen and store it in the fridge. Maybe it'll work better that way. I think one of you guys could have told me about that, huh? ;-p

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 12:33AM
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bromadams(10b)

Lisa, the xNeophytums and xCryptbergias that have been registered don't have tanks. I had quite a few xCryptbergias and shortly after they started to develop a tank and hold water they died. Putting a tank on a succulent type Brom is going to be problematic but it will probably work sometimes. I'm hoping my xOrthomea seedlings develop a bit of a tank and live through it. I have some 10 month old xCryptmeas and some are starting to hold water and others aren't. I expect the ones holding water to start to die off but maybe I'll get lucky.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 7:24AM
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