Self set or naturally pollinated?

dan2805November 12, 2009

My Aechmea nudicaulis var. Aequalis produced two seeds total- in two different berries. I did not pollinate them myself. Is it more likely they are self-set or that some form of natural pollination has taken place? I had two other Aechmea's in the area at the time, both, from memory, flowering around then. I remember the ants really loved those flowers- possible? The two plants I had blooming where a fasciata and 'pie in the sky'. I think that was all. There may have been a billbergia flowering then as well.

I noted that some people on the forum say A. nudicaulis aequalis say it selfsets others say it doesn't. But I imagine that plants that selfset would set more than just two seeds? As always, I have no doubt there are exceptions. Anyway, I threw one of the seeds in a container with some sphagnum moss and it germinated.

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Mine self set. I did a few crosses before I realized that it did self.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 7:02AM
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Some cvs. of nudicaulis are more prone to selfing than others. I have at least 8 different clones (plus several hybrids between them), and the only one that habitually selfs for me is La Tigra. That doesn't necessarily mean the others are self-infertile, though, just that they don't set up automatically without human or insect help. Many plants have developed a genetic preference for outside pollen (of the same species or a closely related one), but if they can't find any they will grudgingly accept their own as a fall-back option. It's possible it out-crossed with one of the other Aechmeas (the Bill seems like a long shot), but it's also possible that some ant or bee contact caused a few of its own pollen grains to come into contact with the stigma at the right time. Usually the simplest explanation is the most likely one. Of course, if you had tried and failed at getting it to self-pollinate, then that would be a strong indication that it was probably out-crossed, but barring that, I would tend to assume they were selfed unless proven otherwise. The only way to know for sure is to grow them out.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 1:35PM
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Hi Matt,

I don't have nudicaulis var. Aequalis but my nudicaulis var. 'Costa Rica' self pollinates every time it flowers and gives full berries with heaps of fertile seed.

All the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 1:39PM
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Nev, can you post a picture of 'Costa Rica'?

Here is my aqualis.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 2:15PM
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Hi everyone,

Bromadams, this is the plant I bought in good faith as nudicaulis 'Costa Rica'. Perhaps you or some of the others on this site can tell me if that name is correct.

All the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 11:20PM
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Nev - your Aechmea looks suspiciously like nudicaulis v. aequalis, same as Nick's, to me. See below photos of mine, labeled as such. The inflorescence is distinctive in that variety.

And a couple growing in brighter light than the above.

I also grow what was labeled Ae. nudicaulis cv. 'Costa Rica' - bought from Olive Trevor, from memory. I would guess that it probably comes from Costa Rica, rather than that being its official cultivar name? It is narrower and darker in form than my var. aequalis, and has more red than orange-red bracts. See photos below, post-flowering.

Ae. nudicaulis cv. 'Costa Rica' (?)

I often see variants within this group, with questionable names. I'm fairly confident that my var. aequalis is correctly named, but not so sure of my supposed 'Costa Rica'.

BTW - most of my varieties (about 8 or 10) do self-seed in the garden, with help from the Noisy Miners (native birds).

Kerry :)

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 12:37AM
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Thanks, looking at those berries I wish mine self set. I recollect kind of fiddling with the flowers at one point (which I imagine might trigger pollination), but then again I don't know if they were receptive at the time. Since then I've gotten into the habit of trying to self pollinate all flowers that I am not trying to cross pollinate- might as well use the opportunity to learn something.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 12:50AM
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Kerry, your "Costa Rica" looks very much like 'La Tigra'. Since La Tigra is in Costa Rica, You're probably right about it being just a descriptive tag rather than a valid cv. name.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ae. nudicaulis 'La Tigra'

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 12:19PM
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Hi everyone,

As I said, I bought this plant in good faith as nudicaulis 'Costa Rica'.

It came from a well respected bromeliad grower and internationally accredited bromeliad show judge and I had no reason to doubt that the name wasn't correct.

Anyway, whatever its name is, I like it, its a good grower and flowers every year without fail.

All the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 2:24PM
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Nev - that happens to the most experienced and newbies alike. The broms are bought as labeled in good faith, and unless an obvious discrepancy occurs, they remain with that name in all confidence. The person from whom you bought yours probably has a similar story of how/who they acquired it as you.

Lisa - thanks for that link, and I suspect you are right that mine is more likely 'La Tigra' - makes more sense.

K :)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 11:40PM
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fdnpedro(NSW north coast)

Hi all

Since a nice form of A nudicaulis var aequalis was introduced into Australia by me and registered as 'Zebra' it is quite possible some of you have it. It came from Costa Rica, Chester Skotak, and is a highly attractive plant plant. The pics posted as Costa Rica sure look similar to it as it has distinct banding, inflated sheaths, orange leaves in good light and a red and yellow inflorescence. I know Olive imported her form and it is similar to my form but a bit less 'chunky'. Check and make comparisons.

There are more forms of nudicaulis than you can poke a stick at. I have at least 10 distinctive ones and heaps in between but there are many more. In Rio alone the trees are full of all shapes, colours and sizes. It likes hybridising too so keep this in mind with seed.

Cheers, Pedro

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 5:22AM
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