Arisaema hybridization

Roy Herold rrh at GENESIS.NRED.MA.US
Tue Aug 8 02:44:29 CEST 2000

I recall years ago when I first got involved with Aroid-L, I asked
the question if anyone was working with arisaema hybrids. I
immediately received a reply from  Peter Boyce who was, in effect,
appalled that anyone would consider contaminating the pure genetic
material of the true species.

Well, it's going to happen, like it or not. Given that we are dealing
with mostly dioecious (sp?) species, if we only have one specimen of
a plant (or no males) the other parent is probably another species
(barring apomixis). The first hybrid I ran across was sikokianum x
takedae, which was an intentional cross made by Don Jacobs of Eco
Gardens. Since then, mainly in the greenhouse in early spring, I have
moved a little pollen around myself using takedae, sikokianum,
takedae x sikokianum, angustatum peninsulae, triphyllum, serratum,
and others. Some of these I have submitted to the AEG seedex, with
their putative heritages.

In the meantime, I have also shared 'pure' seeds from open pollinated
plants, expecting that they would come true. I was indeed embarrassed
when a nursery owner (you know who you are....) came back and said
that a large proportion of the sikokianum seedlings that arose from
my stock had definite triphyllum characteristics. Sigh. And just this
spring I was looking at a pot of amurense seedlings from a plant that
was in the garden about three feet away from a sikokianum. Sure
enough, some of the leaves were variegated, with a lighter center
just like sikokianum. (I sent some of these seeds into the exchange a
couple of years ago, so yours might be similar if you deemed the
lowly amurense worthy of notice.)

Just how far apart plants need to be in the garden to prevent cross
pollination is unknown to me. We may want to start attaching an 'OP'
suffix to any seeds from such a situation, and that have not been
intentionally pollinated by in a controlled area, or wild collected.

'Wild collected' is not a guarantee of purity, either. There are
documented cases of stewardsonii x dracontium (right here in
Massachusetts), and the early stewardsonii's certainly have crossed
with the late triphyllum's in my own neighborhood.

Or, we can just relax and enjoy it.

--Roy Herold
in the process of moving from North Reading, MA to Carlisle, MA!!!!!!!!!!

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