Plants for the most impatient hybridizers (i.e., students!)
I posted this message on the house plants forum before noticing this hybridizing forum, which is much more appropriate for my query. IÂm looking for a good subject for a simple genetic variation/artificial selection lab, in which we can start the semester with two blooming varieties that the students cross-pollinate, then collect the ripened seeds, then grow these out long enough to see the traits in the offspring. All in one 15-week semester! IÂve used Brassica rapa "Fast Plants" for a similar lab in the past, because you can (barely) get through two generations in a semester, but they have become both prohibitively expensive and increasingly unreliable (bad combo!). I'll be happy to start with mature parents and finish with mature offspring.
Unfortunately, although patience is obviously an essential virtue for the serious hybridizer, I need to find those plants that are best for the most impatient hybridizers! Can anyone recommend a cheap, easy-to-get plant that could meet these requirements? One that springs to mind is portulaca: 40-50 days from sowing to blooming, but I donÂt know how long it takes for blooming plants to set seed and seeds to ripen. I also suspect that it would take longer in the fall than in the heat of the summer, and those dang dust-like seeds might be too much for my students to handle.
It occurs to me that foliage varieties would work just as well, and perhaps better, since you wouldn't have to wait until they were blooming to see the results. However, I've seen even less information on the all-important (for me!) time between pollination and seed maturation.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!