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Arisaema Enthusiast Group (AEG) Discussion List (and other= Arisaema Enthusiast Group (AEG) Discussion List (and other=
Thu Mar 7 21:50:26 CET 2002

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From: "P.Bruggeman" <pbruggeman at WISH.NET>
Subject: hybridization and conservation
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Dear all,

Whether one is in favour of hybrization or not, in terms of conservation =I
really hope people are not starting to hybridize with rare species before
sufficient numbers of that species are in cultivation to allow for such
experiments. I would much more appreciate it if people would do their bes=t
to propagate rare species before they let themselves go with hybridizatio=n
experiments. As a matter of fact, I think that this is what Wilbert was
talking about in his reaction to the intended cross between A. cordatum a=nd
a Typhonium species.

Preserving the genes of a rare species in hybrids is in my point of view =NOT
the way to go. I certainly don't think that there is ever a situation whe=re
it seems hybrids are the only way to preserve genes. Tissue culture is a
much better way to achieve this. If one wants to preserve genes, what
purpose would it have to preserve the genes in a hybrid if the species is
lost? Certainly if that species is A. cordatum!

Despite what some hybridizers in the current thread hope to achieve, I ha=ve
yet to see a Arisaema-hybrid that is better looking than the parents. The
fact that many genera like daylilies or Iris seem highly suitable for
hybridization doesn't necessarily mean that Arisaema are! I do admit that
some man-made Arisaema-hybrids have some ornamental value but most hybrid=s
only seem to be valuable additions for the compost heap, certainly the on=es
between quite distinct species. However, I can understand it if one wants=to
"improve" a species by crossing various forms of that species to get even
more variants of that species (colour, shape of the spathe). Thanks to th=e
current imports from China, certainly species like candidissimum and
franchetianum seem to be highly suitable for this. Triphyllum too for tha=t

I do however have my doubts whether it's possible to cross Arisaema for t=he
purpose of improving the hardiness (or heat- or droughtresistency for tha=t
matter) of a SPECIES. At best, one can cross 2 species to get a similar
looking, hardy plant UNLESS there is a hardy, less appealing form of the
attractive species in question with which to cross. Even then, one has to
hope the off-spring of the 2 forms inherets the best of both parents,
attractive AND cold-hardy but I can't think of any species for which ther=e
is such a need (or are not all forms of triphyllum cold-hardy?).

I am not saying that the cross between 2 species to get a cold-hardy and =yet
atractive hybrid (if that was the purpose of that cross) is not possible,=it
certainly is. It's just that, based on the hybrids in existence thus far,=it
seems that to achieve such a hybrid one has to have plenty of time, space=, a
good plan, patience and a VERY big compost heap .... In my point of view
such a proces is beyond the scope of the average AEG-member and seems mor=e a
thing for a big nursery and they don't want to spent all the money anyway
because the market seems to be too small for Arisaema. Hybridizing for th=e
purpose of exploring all possibilities would be a matter of having even m=ore
time, patience, space and an ENORMOUS compost heap wouldn't it? The genus
Arisaema consists of some 150+ members and I don't even want to talk abou=t
all the variants....

To come back to the intended cross between Arisaema cordatum and a Typhon=ium
species, I can imagine that Petra only had a male plant in flower of
cordatum at that particular moment and she didn't want to waste the polle=n.
I did however manage to preserve pollen of Arisaema for 2 months in the
fridge and used it succesfully to pollinate female plants that flowered 2
months later. Did you (or anybody else for that matter) ever tried to
conserve pollen Petra? Has anybody any idea how long pollen stays "alive"=in
controlled conditions and if so, what should those conditions be? Not onl=y
for the conservation of rare species would this be of interest but also f=or
those who want to cross species that don't flower at the same time. Anybo=dy
any idea? One thing I know, pollen in water starts to mould after 3

I can't blame anybody who wants to give it go with Arisaema-hybridization
but please document the crosses well and try to keep the hybrids away fro=m
the species. The people who are doing their best to identify species have=a
hard job already...


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