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Sex and Brocchinia hechtioide

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#1 David Ahrens

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Posted 31 May 2008 - 13:07 PM

Now that I have your attention.
It must be that time of year because my Brocchinia hechtioide is sending up a flower stalk. I would like some advice on polinating the flower and getting it to set seed, if this is possible. Is it possible to to self polinate the flowers ? and how do I go about it ?
The flowers aren't as advanced as Brian's but looking at Brian's photos, they look like a fairly conventional flower. I should imagine that my flowers will look similar to Brian's reducta.
Does anyone know if the seed is viable for any length of time ? I have an Aechmia fasciata (urn plant) but I wasn't sucessful at polinating the flowers when I tried a while back. I take it that Bromeliad flowers are not all the same in structure.

Edited by David Ahrens, 01 June 2008 - 18:10 PM.

#2 Steve Stewart

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 12:52 PM

Hello David & all,

I'm by no means an expert on bromeliads, but I have grown Brocchinia reducta and Aechmea fasciata from seed. I have not grown Brocchinia hechtioide, but I believe they have complete flowers, and that are at least capable of setting seed.

From my experience both plant genera (I have not grown all species / hybrids from either genus!) are self compatible and can be pollinated using a single clone. I would think a person would get stronger plants from seed using separate clones, but I have not been lucky enough to have the option of trying.
Getting viable pollen to the stamens is a part of the difficulty with getting bromeliads to set seed. If the temperature, light or humidity are not right, the pollen will not ripen.

Pollinating the flowers at the correct time of day is the trick. Timing for pollination is dependent on cultural conditions the pants are in. I have followed directions of other growers and attempted to pollinate bromeliads at 4:00am without success. It seemed my plants flowers opened and the pollen was ripe in the early afternoon.

It seems in Florida, USA our seasons and temperature ranges are so diverse it is just a matter of time to achieve the correct conditions for successful pollination of most bromeliads.
I have read many times that Ananas "Pineapple" do not set seed, or are sterile, yet I am presently growing several vigorous plants from seed that I obtained from the fruits. The seed of "Pineapple" is difficult to find, but they are small 1-2mm, red hard seeds, just under the outer coat or rind.
Brocchinia reducta have numerous dry brown samara, contained in capsules that hopefully Brian will get good photographs of when his plants seed capsules ripen. B. reducta seed is viable for months after harvest. I would guess that B. hectioide has similar fruits and seed.

Growing bromeliads from seed is a topic for another post.

Sorry for going on,

Steven Stewart
Florida, USA

#3 David Ahrens

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 18:06 PM

Thanks Steve, your advice is fairly comprehensive. I am not sure about getting up at 4am to pollinate the plant, but I could try 5am, which is nearer me getting up for work. I realise that the main plant will die after flowering. The plant was putting out a pup a while back but the pup is flowering as well, so I hope that the plant will put out another pup or two. I could try pollinating the flowers several times a day to catch the pollen right. It will be a while before the flower is fully out but that is why I asked about the plant in case there was a pollen viabillity issue.
As you say, the seed will stay viable for quite a long time, so I might send some to the CPS seed bank, if I am successful.
Thanks again.

#4 Drosera5150

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 11:03 AM

Hello David.
I plan on posting some photos of the almost-ripened seed capsule of Brocchinia reducta in a few days. I do believe they are close to dehiscing and I'd like to post photos of the seed as well...
It will be interesting to see a comparision between the two flowers of Brocchinia reducta and Brocchinia hechtioide , along with their seed and capsules in the future.
Happy Growing,