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Flowering Principles

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Flowers and the Plant Breeder

The work required of the plant breeder depends on the type of cross desired and on the flower structure of the species.

Question : What kind of plant would require the most flower manipulation to control a cross pollination?

A. A plant with perfect flowers.
B. A monoecious plant.
C. A dioecious plant.

Question : What kind of plant would require the least flower manipulation to control a cross pollination?

A. A plant with perfect flowers.
B. A monoecious plant.
C. A dioecious plant.

 
Question : In which of the perfect flowers below would it be easier to make a controlled cross?

A. A lily flower.
B. An achillea flower.
C. Both A. and B. are the same.



Lily plant with big flowers.
Image by Don Lee

Achillea plant with small flowers.
Imbge by Kim Todd

Monoecious plants do not require flower manipulation that involves removing a stamen but may require flower protection. The female flower can be protected from pollen by covering it before it’s stigma is receptive. Pollen can be collected from a male flower and introduced to the covered female flower.
 


Bagging a tassel
to capture pollen.

Image by Joel Stuthman

Artificial pollination.
Image by Joel Stuthman


These crossing operations require the plant breeder to use the proper tools and timing.
Click "making crosses" in the animation link below to see if you think like a plant breeder.

 
Animation Link
Animation by UNL

Dioecious plants require the least flower manipulation. For example, if female plants are grown in a proximity to only one type of male, all offspring produced on that female are the result of pollen from the same male. Controlling crosses can be as simple as deciding which plants to put in the same greenhouse or which plants to place next to each other in the field.

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