Getting Etlingera to set seed

LisaCLV(HI)March 23, 2005

Is there a time factor involved in getting etlingeras to set seed? I have tried hand-pollinating E. venusta and E. elatior countless times and no set, either selfing or crossing the two. Our neighbor has some old established clumps of both the red and pink torch and gets some degree of natural seed set, although if you look at the old flower heads, sometimes it's like just one or two rows of flowers got pollinated, and the rest are duds. Or sometimes one whole head is full of fruits whereas an identical one next to it has none. They don't hand-pollinate, so something is doing it, but sporadically. They've allowed us to collect those seeds, and we've had good luck germinating them, but we have some different varieties that I'd like to get going and/or cross. There's plenty of pollen, and I'm reasonably sure I'm putting it in the right place, but maybe I'm not doing it the right time of day. My husband things they may be receptive at night. Any clues? What am I doing wrong?

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TimChapman(Z8 Louisiana)

Many etlingera are spiderhunter pollinated. I don't know much about their daily live and all, but being hummingbird like birds I don't think they would be active at night. Are their hummingbirds in hawaii? Its quite possible something else is pollinating them. What time of day are you trying to pollinate?

The australians are doing some breeding/hybridizing work with some success.

Tim Chapman

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 11:45PM
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Hi Tim, how was your trip?

I've never heard of a spiderhunter, but we could probably use some of those. Plenty of spiders to hunt here! We don't have hummingbirds, but there is a little hovering moth with a long proboscis that kind of fills that same niche. Can't remember the last time I saw one at our place, though, and I don't know if they come out at night, I've mostly seen them in the daytime, but we do have some nocturnal moths.

I usually try pollinating about mid-morning, or whenever the thought occurs to me. I'm kind of conditioned by years of pollinating bromeliads to assume that everything is going to be receptive around 10:00 AM, but I know that's not necessarily the case. I did talk to an Aussie woman several years ago who claimed to have crossed Etlingera elatior with Alpinia purpurata, but I'm a bit skeptical, as she said that the offspring looked just like the Etlingera. I can't remember her name (Doris?) but she's responsible for the Darwin series of Alpinias. If you know of a way to contact her, or anyone else, send me an email.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2005 at 1:19PM
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