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  • Author or Editor: Mary Stuart x
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The regal pelargonium (P. x domesticum) is generally characterized by low fertility and poor seed set. In studys designed to assess factors that contribute to low fecundity in this crop we have examined genotype interactions among various cultivars and have identified lines that differ in degree of male and female fertility.

The objective of this study was to examine genotypic variation, other than self-incompatibility, of P. x domesticum pistils in supporting the development of the male gametophyte. Variation in pollen germination and growth was assessed after crossing either a male of high fertility or a mate of poor fertility to nine different selections of varying female fertility. Styles were harvested 2 hours after pollination and examined using fluorescence microscopy to determine the number of germinated pollen grains on the stigma and the number of pollen tubes growing down the style.

Female selections displayed large differences in their ability to support pollen tubes. Styles from different females pollinated with the same male varied in average number of pollen tubes from 30 to 2.

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Cultivars of the clonally propagated Pelargonium × domesticum are generally limited in fertility which impeeds the development of improved cultivars. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of supplemental high intensity discharge (HID) lighting upon flowering and seed set and to screen a number of cultivars and breeding lines for fertility.

Plants were provided one of three supplemental HID lighting treatments: 1) Control (no HID). 2) HID from sunrise to sunset (times adjusted weekly). 3) HID for 16 hours daily. As they became available, 14 flowers per plant were emasculated and pollinated with pollen which had been bulked from approximately 20 unrelated plants.

Plants given 16 hour HID tended to be more compact and flower earlier than control plants. There were large differences between cultivars in fruit development and seed set with 83-11-3 and Elsie Hickman being among the most fertile and Grand Slam one of the poorest.

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