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  #1  
Old 07-02-2017, 09:06 AM
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Salixx Salixx is offline
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Default Pod and Pollen Parent Selection

Alright folks, I know genetics are a messy business and don't always work the way we might intent, but here it goes.

I have found myself with a little more time on my hands than I am used to and I want to do something creative/productive with that time and that something is I want to actively attempt to grow some orchids from seed. I bought an cheap flask on eBay to practice deflasking and growing babes (babies, not attractive women) in the mean time.

Once I have selected two plants with which I would like to breed, I want to know how to pick which should be the pollen parent and which the pod parent. Which one typically has a stronger influence on color? flower shape, size and number of flowers? Which one has a stronger influence on how large the plant will be?

If someone has a link to a site or thread detailing this more, I'd be more than happy with that. I haven't turned up anything, but I might not be using correct terms or looking in the right places.

I appreciate any and all insight on the matter. Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 07-02-2017, 01:07 PM
PaphMadMan PaphMadMan is offline
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Before even considering genetics...

Always make a cross both ways if both plants are strong enough to carry a pod. It doubles your chance of at least getting seed. And if they aren't both strong enough that determines the pod parent. And if they aren't in bloom at the same time you save pollen and that determines the pod parent.

There are a few things that tend to be influenced more by the pod parent because all chloroplasts and similar organelles and all mitochondria come from the pod parent: general vigor, temperature and light preferences, expression of green, yellow and white in the flowers, possibly some aspects of dormancy. Claims may be made for other things but unless someone has made several reciprocal crosses and raised thousands of seedlings under controlled conditions they have an impression or feeling, not statistically significant data. It could be a valid impression but even then it may not apply to all cases.

Several traits will tend to be close to the geometric mean of the parents: plant size, flower size, spike length, flower count - physical measurements and countable things. That's the square root of A x B, not (A + B) divided by 2.

I'm sure you may get different answers. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Mine comes from over 42 years observing orchids and an academic background in plant breeding and genetics.

Last edited by PaphMadMan; 07-02-2017 at 01:10 PM..
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  #3  
Old 08-13-2017, 09:32 AM
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Genetics vary somewhat from genus to genus.

For example, in Paphiopedilum species, the pod parent tends to dominate for flower shape. However, the color traits are different. I have seen hundreds of plants of Paph Nitens (insigne x villosum) made both ways, and in every single plant the insigne colors prevailed.

When we get to hybrids, it becomes much murkier. Certain plants are know to impart some specific traits, such as:

Cattleya Horace 'Maxima'
Paphiopedilum Hellas 'Westonbirt'

Both impart great shape (& to some extent size), and both are color recessive, so the other parent will dominate in the colors.

In most genera, the alba & coeruelea forms are recessive, so you must use both parents with these traits if you are looking produce true albas & coeruleas.

An interesting example, I have an Ascofinetia Cherry Blossom, which was made with Asctm ampullaceum 'alba' & Neo falcata. However, the flowers are pink, since:
Neofinetia falcata has a white flower, but it is not a recessive alba (white is the 'color form'). Thus, it overrides the alba genes in the Asctm ampullaceum and produces colored flowers.

I would love to find an alba form of Neofinetia falcata, but it would take lots of breeding hybrids to find one - if it even exists.
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  #4  
Old 08-13-2017, 02:50 PM
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How would one recognize an alba Neofinetia, other than watching its offspring?
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  #5  
Old 08-16-2017, 10:00 AM
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1. You would look for NFs with no pigment at all on flowers, foliage or root tips.
2. You cross these plants with another plant, that is either alba, or one that is the result of (color x alba).

From alba x alba, you expect all white flowers.
From (color x alba) x alba, you expect 50% alba.

If all the offspring are colored, then the NF was not alba.

You would probably have to make dozens of crosses, before you find an alba NF.
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Kim (Fair Orchids)

Founder of SPCOP (Society to Prevention of Cruelty to Orchid People), with the goal of barring the taxonomists from tinkering with established genera!

I am neither a 'lumper' nor a 'splitter', but I refuse to re-write millions of labels.
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  #6  
Old 08-16-2017, 10:46 AM
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What I do -
Select the genus species or hybrids I wish to cross
Research if this cross has been registered before - use the RHS website and or Orchidwiz
Research the internet for photos of the cross.
Alternatively - if a new cross - research the progeny that is registered to either parent - hopefully there are! Look for photos.
Prepare for disappointment as there is not much photographic data available.

Bear in mind that ploidy influences whether a cross is successful, as well as making a cross that is genetically possible. For example a Vanda cannot be crossed with a habenaria.
There isn't much information around. A cross is a couple of years "work". I crossed an equestris with a harlequin phal, expecting a wow result. It turns out that equestris is genetically dominant and I got big plants with small equestris type flowers. Fail. If I had known that this was the likely result then I wouldn't have made the cross.
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  #7  
Old 08-16-2017, 12:37 PM
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A lot of the knowledge about genetics & dominance is tribal (learned by experience, and not published). And, as some knowledge (read: experiences) is jealously guarded by the commercial breeders, others are doomed to repeat their mistakes for lack of information.

To top it off, not all the commercial breeders fully understand genetics & dominance, so they keep doing the same thing over and over- without advancing the boundaries.

I have been around orchids for a long time, both commercially (1968-1977, and 2015+), and as a hobby grower (1994-2015), so I have seen a lot. Yet, I am by no means an authority on breeding. I know a bit about Paphs, and I am feeling my way with small Vandacous.

If anyone wants to do some serious breeding, get in touch with some of the powers that be. I have found Fred Clarke (Sunset Valley Orchids) to be more than willing to comment on the genera he is working with.
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Kim (Fair Orchids)

Founder of SPCOP (Society to Prevention of Cruelty to Orchid People), with the goal of barring the taxonomists from tinkering with established genera!

I am neither a 'lumper' nor a 'splitter', but I refuse to re-write millions of labels.
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