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  • 1 Post By King Kjeldz
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Best time to harvest pollen?

This is a discussion on Best time to harvest pollen? within the Breeding & Hybridization forums, part of the Orchid Propagation category; Hey all! I have a Phalaenopsis schilleriana 'Pink Butterfly' AM/AOS that is currently in bloom. ...

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  1. #1
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    Default Best time to harvest pollen?

    Hey all! I have a Phalaenopsis schilleriana 'Pink Butterfly' AM/AOS that is currently in bloom. She opened her blooms about two weeks ago, and I'm wondering when the best time is to collect the pollen.

    I'd like to use this plant as a pollen parent for a hybrid I'm trying to create, and since she only gave me two flowers to work with for her first blooming, I want to make sure I get the best pollen possible!

    Does it matter when I collect it? Will the flowers wilt faster once the pollen is removed? If I wait until the flowers are getting ready to droop, does the pollen lose quality?

    Thanks! I appreciate any help you folks can give!

  2. #2
    King Kjeldz is offline Senior Member
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    u asking all the right questions and i think therefore yes u do know the answers to all...once flowers open (and grows in the case of vanda) fully...its the perfect time..yes they will wilt faster once the anther cap is removed...and yes quality will drop as dey age unto wilting...sometimes u may even find black or molded pollen at that wilted stage of the flower....good luck with your hybridising...its an exciting field
    Last edited by King Kjeldz; March 6th, 2013 at 06:52 PM.

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    The orchids have developed a highly specialized pollination system. Orchid flowers usually remain receptive for a very long period and most of the orchids deliver pollen in a single mass. Thousands of ovules are fertilized with an every successful pollination.

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    Default

    I probably should have clarified that the intended recipient plant is not in spike or bloom, so I am planning on storing the pollen in the fridge for a while. I've already plucked off the anther caps on both flowers from the schilleriana, and I tried to get the two little pollen blobs to come off the anther caps for storage, but all I ended up doing was bungling the whole thing and dropping one of the tiny white anther caps (with precious pollen still inside) onto my white kitchen floor.

    I then spent about twenty minutes on my hands and knees searching around for the dropped anther cap...I was worried it might have just blown away from a gust or air when the heat turned on...but eventually I found it, and after spending another ten minutes trying to convince the little thing to stay on the piece of paper I was trying to scoop it up with, I abandoned the idea of separating the pollen from the anther cap for storage and just put both anther caps in the little container with the pollen still inside them. I figure I'll scoop out the pollen when it's ready to be used...then I don't need to worry if I smoosh it, which I undoubtedly will....

    Now I just need to send some happy vibes to my recipient plant... bloom, baby...bloom....

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    Jenn, the bees knows best. They are busy by the time the sun is up, so you should preferably collect your pollen early in the day when the heat of the sun isn't very intense. Another indicator would be the fragrance though fragrance is more of an indicator that the flower is ripe to receive pollen from another flower. When collecting pollen you should approach with a toothpick from behind the pollen cap at the junction of the stigma and the pollen cap. You should see a little transparent tag at this junction which is the sticky viscidium. Run the toothpick gently against it and wait for it to cling on to the toothpick. Once this is done, move the toothpick in a forward direction. The pollen cap will fall off and the pollen mass will come stuck on the toothpick. If the pollen is stuck within the pollen cap, then the pollen might not be very good. Nevertheless if it is a bright yellow, it should be good. Hope this helps.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PreSam View Post
    Jenn, the bees knows best. They are busy by the time the sun is up, so you should preferably collect your pollen early in the day when the heat of the sun isn't very intense. Another indicator would be the fragrance though fragrance is more of an indicator that the flower is ripe to receive pollen from another flower. When collecting pollen you should approach with a toothpick from behind the pollen cap at the junction of the stigma and the pollen cap. You should see a little transparent tag at this junction which is the sticky viscidium. Run the toothpick gently against it and wait for it to cling on to the toothpick. Once this is done, move the toothpick in a forward direction. The pollen cap will fall off and the pollen mass will come stuck on the toothpick. If the pollen is stuck within the pollen cap, then the pollen might not be very good. Nevertheless if it is a bright yellow, it should be good. Hope this helps.
    Hmmm... the pollen wasn't bright yellow even when I collected it, and I collected it about a week after the flowers had originally opened. I've harvested pollen from NOID phals before, so perhaps this case was different because it was from a species plant which had a teensy little anther cap and rather transparent-looking pollen blobs (which I somehow managed to drop on my white kitchen floor, which left me rummaging around for half an hour trying to find the teeny white anther cap with the little transparent pollen in it... all the while sweating and cursing and feeling pretty certain I had ruined the entire breeding project).

    Anyway, the pollen is still preserved inside the little anther caps, and it's all in a tiny little storage container in the fridge. The intended seed parent unfortunately died. Pbbbbbtttttt. Hopefully the pollen will be patient while I try to track down another plant to take its place!

    Thanks for the info and encouragement! Much appreciated!!

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    Once a flower is pollinated, a complex process begins in which ethylene gas is generated by floral tissues. Ethylene gas is a signaling molecule and it signals senescence of the flower(s). This means that the flower will wilt. If the pollination was intentional, then all is good.

    Damage to the flower can also induce ethylene release. Some flowers are more susceptible than others. In your case, pollen removal should not greatly reduce the lifespan of the donor flower, but it may reduce it by a few days.

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