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Pollen viability of hardy cyps

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TheLorax

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Please bear with me as I try to sort something out. It was my general understanding most Cypripedium pollen would be at its peak just as a flower opened rapidly declining after that due to many factors. It is also my understanding the viability of pollen remained for several days possibly several weeks depending upon environmental factors such as drought or heavy rains to name but two. Actual fertilization takes place about a month or so after pollination. Is my limited understanding of Cypripedium pollen viability somewhat correct?
 

TheLorax

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Another member indicated a Dr.Orchid might be able to answer these questions. Does anyone know what user name this person goes by?
 

TheLorax

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I don't know who I mean. Perhaps they were referring to another forum out there on the net. Sorry, I thought Dr.Orchid was a common name that maybe I just didn't know since I'm new.
 
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Drorchid

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Yes, to my understanding the pollen is best used when fresh (so when the flower has opened). If you do want to store it, you have to remove the pollinia from the flowers when the flowers are still open and fresh (so when the pollinia are still fresh). This is a small window, as Cyp flowers only last one to two weeks (depending on the temperature). It is best to remove the pollen and store it on waxpaper. I always put it into small eppendorfs (liittle centrifuge tubes, that I get from a chemical supply company like Sigma: www.sigma-aldrich.com), but you can store it in any other tube or container. The eppendorf tubes I store in a larger airtight container with silica gel packages (a desiccant). You can get these also at Sigma. It is important to use a desiccant so that you lower the humidity, othewise you will get mold growing on the pollen. I store it in our Fridge here (at 4 degrees C). Keep in mind that the longer you store it, the viability of the pollen will go down, but I think you can store it up to one year.

If the pollinia are not fresh; so from old flowers that have wilted and turned brown, the viability drastically will go down, as usually the pollinia will get moldy.

I hope this answers some of your questions,

Robert (aka Drorchid)
 

TheLorax

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Thank you so much. You most certainly answered my questions. I wanted to understand the process.

I have no desire to collect pollen during that small window of opportunity when it is still viable from a plant in a wild stand. I was just wondering why another member here was asking me privately to collect whole flower heads for them (complete with mature seeds from a wild stand of plants that bloomed over three months ago). This individual claimed the pollen would still be viable hence able to be used for "research". My plants are in a heavily wooded area (in a different state) close to a wetland and there most assuredly would have been airborne pathogens (both fungal and bacterial) present in the last 3 months in that type of an ecosystem.

I can't thank you enough for taking the time to reply in such a concise and exacting manner.
 
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Drorchid

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I am guessing the person was not interested in the "pollen", but in the seeds themselves. The seedpods mature in about 2 to 3 months (depending on temperature).

Robert
 
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