Hand pollinating

Klea(4b)April 30, 2013

I've been trying to master the difficult task of hand pollinating hoyas. Today I tried to pollinate H. lasiantha with it's own pollinia, and I also tried to cross pollinate H. lasiantha with H. carnosa (don't know if this is even possible).

I'm posting some pictures of the pollinia and of the flowers I tried to pollinate - hope someone can tell me if I put the pollinia in the right place, or if I'm doing it all wrong ... I was trying to put the pollinia into the center of the corona, don't know if that is the "sweet spot" or not. lol

H. lasiantha pollinia (about 1 mm long):

H. lasiantha with a pollinia stuck to it:

H. carnosa with a H. lasiantha pollinia "inside" the center of the corona:

Please, share your thoughts on this matter!

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Wow! Really awesome photos! Thanks for sharing. I've been really interested in learning how to pollinate Hoyas as well. You're far more advanced than I am though. I don't even know where you find the pollinia!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 12:38PM
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I haven't looked into it, but I bet there's a YouTube video about it. Doug Chamberlain has a lot of Hoyas and a YouTube channel. Recently I noticed he has videos about seeds and seedlings so he may know.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 1:07PM
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GREAT topic! I've been thinking about this a lot lately.
Have you checked out this link. It's mostly on stapelia but applies to Hoya as well.

If you pull the corona scales apart (yes tearing the flower apart) the pollinum will fall out.



    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 7:22PM
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Very cool photographs. I have to admit that when I look at them, the coronas are going: "nomnomnomnom."

What did you end up using to handle the pollinia?

I hope you keep experimenting and photographing. You're spreading the pollination fever.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 11:19AM
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Thanks for posting the amazing pictures. Hope to see what happens with your experiment!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 10:41PM
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epiphyte78: Thank you. You can find the pollinia in the center of the corona - in between the corona lobes. See the 5 black dots in the center of the flower? Those are attached to the pollinia. To pull the pollinia out from the flower you have to use something thin (like a cats or dogs whiskers) and drag it through the corona lobes (over that black dot), and hopefully the pollinia will loosen. Drag it from the center and outwards.

brsucculents: Yes, I've seen that link before and have read it a couple of times. Very helpful, but I still can't figure out exactly how and where I'm supposed to attach the pollinia... lol

greedyghost: You are right about the description of the coronas, they do look like they're going 'nomnomnom'!

I used a very sharp pair of tweezers to extract the pollinia and to put it back into the corona. This only works on the slightly bigger flowers though - like lasiantha. On smaller flowers, like carnosa and lucanosa and so on, I have used a whisker from my poor dog. Getting the pollinia out is not the problem (though it demands some patience), it's putting it back in the right spot that's giving me a headache!! LOL

restoner: Thank you! I'm excited to see what happens, I've tried hand pollination several times before, but with no success. Maybe this time it will work.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 5:57AM
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What absolutely spectacular pictures, and wonderful description.

I am seriously impressed.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 8:20AM
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Nothing impressive about it, Renee. lol But thank you!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 9:13AM
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Hey Klea. How did the pollination go? Any fruit forming yet?
ps I meant to say the photos are really spectacular. Great macrophotography.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 8:22PM
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Klea, thanks for the info on where to find the pollinia. This last Friday Kartuz was nice enough to let me experiment on his Hoya flowers. I used a very fine fishing line and manged to extract the pollinia. Then I tried to place it in the center of another plant's flowers. I doubt that I was successful...but I attached a twisty so that I can check up on them when I return.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 4:04PM
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Klea - It looks as though you put it in the right spot, if this old (1887) edition of The American Naturalist is correct-

âÂÂThe stigmas of the flowers are exposed in the centre of the parts forming the apex of stamens and pistilsâÂÂ

Here is a link that might be useful: Google Books - The American Naturalist

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 6:59PM
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restoner, thanks for sharing that. The entire passage is of interest...so I'll just copy and paste it here...

"The fertilization of Hoya globulosa possesses points of interest, the mechanism being much the same as in Asclepias. It has been described in the Gardeners' Chronicle for April 29, 1882, by Mr. W. G. Smith, as follows: The flowers are regular, grow in clusters, and are very fragrant. The pollen-grains are united in clusters and enclosed in pouches, five in number. The glutinous, dark-colored disks of the pollinia are the only parts of the stamens visible in an open flower. If an insect, attracted by the fragrance, alights on a flower, it almost invariably happens that one foot slips and is caught by one of the sticky disks. Sometimes four feet are entangled, and then ensues a struggle to escape. If strong enough, the fly tears itself away, but in the effort takes the pollinia attached to its feet along with it. "The basal appendages of each pair of pollen-masses," says Mr. Smith, "'are elastic, and when in the pouch they are like an extended spring, but the instant the masses are drawn out by the insect's foot the spring closes, the two pollen-masses quickly cross each other and hold tightly on to the insect's little claws." The stigmas of the flower are exposed in the centre of the parts forming the apex of stamens and pistils, and these are not ripe at the same time as the pollen. It is therefore necessary for the pollinia to be withdrawn from the pouches and conveyed by the insect to another flower -in which the stigmas are ripe before fertilization can take place."

Ughh, so even if you manage to tease out the pollinia and situate it correctly...there's a possibility that the stigma might not be ripe.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 1:59PM
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I don't think my experiment was successful, but the flowers haven't fallen off yet either, so I don't know for sure. Since posting the previous posts I found this thread here on GW:


It is very interesting to read RainforestGuy's replies. And his comments made me think I didn't aim for the right spot. I later tried to remove all the pollinia from the mother flower before trying to insert the pollinia back into the flower again. I find it a bit hard to understand all the written info about pollination, because english is not my first language. And so I feel I might be missing the point. lol

Thank you for posting the new info, restoner and epiphyte78 ! Very interesting! And I hope your experiments will bear fruits, epiphyte78 . ;)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 2:48PM
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