hybridization

imchaudryDecember 16, 2007

How to develop a marigold hybrid.

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maineman(z5a ME)

imchaudry,

Marigolds are composites, so basically you choose two marigolds that you would like to cross with each other. The male parent will contribute the pollen and the female parent will receive the pollen and produce the seeds.

Since most marigold flowers both produce pollen and seeds, the cross can go both ways. You may want to remove the pollen bearing florets from the flower that you have selected to be a female parent, to prevent it from "selfing" itself.

The pollen is produced in the central disk florets. You can remove the entire pollen bearing disk floret and use it as a kind of brush to rub pollen on the stigmas of the ray florets (petals) of the female parent. Then attach some kind of little marker to the female flower so that later you will know to harvest the seeds from it. This following diagram shows the location of the ray florets and the disk florets in the marigold flower.

That diagram appears in this document about Plant Breeding as a Hobby.

Since both marigolds and zinnias are composites, you might be interested in the information in the It can be fun to breed your own zinnias message thread in the GardenWeb Annuals forum.

MM

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 3:53PM
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sambal(z8 Seattle WA)

Hi maineman! I am new to GW but have been growing plants forever. Last year I became very interested in hybridizing.I used seeds that were labelled at F1 Heuchera. These were germinated about 3 years ago. Last spring was the first time I had space to put a few in the garden. Out of the 15 seeds in the mix, I had germination on 13. I kept only two. A red varitey with small leaves and flowers, and a very vigorours one with large green leaves and very tall, sturdy flower scapes that bloomed prolifically and only stopped when most of the blossoms had been polinized. The first seeds were gathered in June. I kept this plant because of its early, strong, prolific bloom, the large green leaves, and it's strength! It covered up two hostas and another, smaller Heuc. by August. I tried to pollinize the late booms with a golden leaved cultivar, but I don't think I beat all the pollinators. (This plant was covered with them). Anyway, I collected ALOT of seed, and consider them open pollinated. What I would like to know is: what do I call this baby of an F1 mix? As the seeds were open pollinated most of what I gathered were selfed...is that right? So you would expect to see the result of this selfed seed to revert back to its parents plant? What would these plants be called? Do I look for a plant with the vigorousness of its F1 parent? If these germinate, am I suppose to let them breed with one another? Would those babies be F2's? At what point does a trait become 'fixed'?When is it ready to receive a 'name'? I call this guy Mikey. Unfortunately, the area the heucs and hostas were growing in had to be dug up when we had to have the septic pumped. However I put him in a pot, and he appears to be doing wonderfully. Any help you can give me, would be very appreciated, as I'd like to continue to try my hand at hybridzing. Oh,,I collect seed and plants that come up in the garden. Most of them are from F1, open pollinated plants. What 'F' would these plants be assigned. Thanks again and Happy Holidays. Sam

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 4:00PM
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maineman(z5a ME)

Sam,

"I used seeds that were labeled as F1 Heuchera."

If you can believe the label, those seeds were produced by crossing two different Heucheras. Normally a label of that sort would indicate the two parents of the cross, with the female parent listed first. For example, Heuchera Ruby Bells x Heuchera Amber Waves. So the seeds you planted were technically F1 hybrids between unknown parents. However, if the unidentified parents were themselves hybrids, and therefore heterozygous, the cross would in effect be crossing an unseen F2 parent pollen grain with a virtual unseen F2 egg cell, which would make the results of the cross equivalent to a cross between two parents of wholly unknown appearance. The upshot of all this is that your F1 plants, which should have been uniform, were highly non-uniform because of the heterozygous nature of their parents. And they are in turn heterozygous, which makes their progeny heterozygous, variable, and for the most part, unpredictable.

"Anyway, I collected ALOT of seed, and consider them open pollinated."

That's good. The more seedlings you grow, the better your chance of finding something good.

"...what do I call this baby of an F1 mix?"

The seeds from F1 hybrids are called F2 (second generation) hybrids. But that refers to F1 hybrids that are a cross between two uniform inbred strains, which probably doesn't apply in your case.

"So you would expect to see the result of this selfed seed to revert back to its parents plant? What would these plants be called? Do I look for a plant with the vigorousness of its F1 parent?"

The original parents were most likely not inbred strains, so the classifications of F1, F2, F3, etc. really don't apply. "Reverting back" is not the process that is occurring. Random recombinations of genes are occurring, whether you self a heterozygous plant or cross it with a different plant. What counts is really just the appearance of the individual plants. Look for properties that seem good to you. And cross those plants with partners that seem likely to you, regardless of their parentage. And, as they say on TV, "expect the unexpected." The anticipation and the surprises are what make plant breeding interesting.

"Most of them are from F1, open pollinated plants. What 'F' would these plants be assigned?"

I don't think it matters, since the original F1 was probably not a "true" F1 cross between inbred lines. Just call them FX for generation "X", and go with your gut on which ones to keep and what to cross with what. It's just as valid to call it the "Art of Plant Breeding" as it is to call it the "Science of Plant Breeding".

Happy holidays, Sam.

MM

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 5:51PM
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sambal(z8 Seattle WA)

MM, Can't thank you enough for your explaination. The Art of Plant Breeding is a good label for me to work with. I have now recored in my little garden journal that I will refer to Mikey as X2 and his progeny (should I be so lucky), as X3. I've read where heucheras may be sown in the autumn, so I'm thinking it is a good plant to winter sow. About Sluggo...thanks! I used that product years and years ago and the rain kept washing it away. Thats when I started using liquid bait. However, I am more than ready to buy a box of Sluggo if it is environmentally clean. I have another hybridization question that I hope hasn't just been answered. Will post it now.As it might be of interest to others). Again, thanks so much!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2007 at 9:57PM
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