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  #1  
Old 03-12-2018, 02:40 PM
Laticauda Laticauda is offline
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Pollination of orchids
Default Pollination of orchids

How exactly do orchids get pollinated? I know it's this structure that makes orchids orchids but I've not been able to find any sort of diagram of the anatomy of an orchid flower. I believe a cut flower I have got pollinated somehow. I'm pretty sure this would have happened inside my home because I had the plant for over a month before the flower started to change (it was cut a couple weeks ago and had been on the plant before that) and there's still another flower on the same stalk that's fresh, turgid and beautiful.
I've also been curious about hand pollination. I had to hand pollinate my squash last year because the plant started making female flowers before it ever produced male flowers and I had to freeze the pollen to use on flowers that opened on days there were no male flowers. Anyway, anyone have reading material for someone that's curious like I am?
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Old 03-12-2018, 09:44 PM
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I believe most (if not all) orchids are pollinated by insects. Some have quite specific pollinators
Quote:
Angraecum sesquipedale. This has an exceptionally long nectary (getting on for 30 cm) and in a book on orchid pollination, Darwin suggested that this extreme feature may have evolved alongside a moth with an exceptionally long tongue to pollinate it.
Moth tongues, orchids and Darwin – the predictive power of evolution | Dr Dave Hone | Science | The Guardian

If your cut orchid has been pollinated, the ovary will begin to swell, forming a seed pod. It's possible that flower wilted for other reasons - sometime flowers on a spike do not all open at once, and older ones may wither before the more recently opened ones.

I haven't done any pollinating myself, but it involves toothpicks There are videos on YouTube, and also informational sites explaining how to hand pollinate orchids. We also have a "Propagation" forum that may be helpful, if no one else is able to help in this thread.
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  #3  
Old 03-13-2018, 11:42 AM
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Before you start pollinating, you have to decide why you want to do it.

If you simply want to try - DON'T. It is easy to do, and there are several labs that can do the flasking for you. BUT:
  • Unless you have the names of both parents, you can't register the new grex (hybrid).
  • Unless both parents are superior clones, you will end up with some nondescript flowers, which are of interest only to yourself.

If you have orchids with superior quality flowers (and names!), or possibly some new color variation, you have some justification for trying. In this case, also consider how you can:
a. Grow a large batch of seedlings to maturity.
b. Disperse (sell) them when they reach a suitable size.

It is a shame you are so far away, since I am talking on this subject to Manhattan OS (NYC) on Wednesday eve.
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:53 AM
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Sorry to hijack the thread a bit but if I have a NoID orchid and manage to propagate it somehow, I can still sell them as "Phalaenopsis Hybrid NoID", right?
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Old 03-13-2018, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulbopedilum View Post
Sorry to hijack the thread a bit but if I have a NoID orchid and manage to propagate it somehow, I can still sell them as "Phalaenopsis Hybrid NoID", right?
You can name your cross whatever you want and sell it. In fact many big wholesalers do this.
Most people don't care about registration as its only important to real hard core orchid enthusiasts.
I've sold hundreds of orchids and only a handful of people have ever even asked for the name. Genus yes, name no.
I encourage everyone to propagate. Just be aware its a long road and not a money making proposition.
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Old 03-14-2018, 07:39 AM
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Back to the original question...Pollination occurring by accident inside one's home is unlikely. Orchids have developed highly specialized reproductive 'tubes' and structures that attract only one species of pollinator. This evolutionary adaptation helps prevent cross-pollination in the wild. Darwin's Orchid has such a long pollination tube that only one species of moth can pollinate it. Darwin observed that there were no known species of insect in the habitat of these orchids and he hypothesised that there must be a butterfly or moth with a very long proboscis to reach the pollination area. Later, such a moth was discovered. I'm currently writing a book on evolution, and I used this orchid as an example of how the theory can be predictive of nature rather then just explainitory.
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Old 03-14-2018, 08:04 AM
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Some orchids trick insects into pollinating them by looking and smelling like a potential mate,

A prime example is the genus Drakaea, where the labellum looks like a potential mate for a wasp and when the wasp tries to carry it off to mate, it flings itself into the column...

Orchids such as Bulbophyllums use the smell (And colors maybe) of rotten meat to attract flies which could potentially pollinate it.

Other orchids make a sort of "forced path" for a fly so that when the fly lands on the flower, it is forced to go into the column. An example is the genus Paphiopedilum.

Some orchids have even tricked humans into pollinating and propagating them. An example genus is... well... all of them...
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orchidsarefun View Post
You can name your cross whatever you want and sell it. In fact many big wholesalers do this.
Most people don't care about registration as its only important to real hard core orchid enthusiasts.
I've sold hundreds of orchids and only a handful of people have ever even asked for the name. Genus yes, name no.
I encourage everyone to propagate. Just be aware its a long road and not a money making proposition.
I beg to differ. This response is highly unethical.

Yes, I know that there are wholesalers who do this, and they are shunned by most responsible orchid enthusiasts.
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Old 04-02-2018, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fairorchids View Post
I beg to differ. This response is highly unethical.

Yes, I know that there are wholesalers who do this, and they are shunned by most responsible orchid enthusiasts.
"Can" and "Should" are two different words. Propagation of new species of plants has given us corn, wheat, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kolrabi, and a host of other edibles that are not found in nature. Human intervention in Natural selection has created every species of dog on the planet. It is subjective to say that human manipulation in natural selection is "wrong" HOWEVER, purist dog lovers or orchid lovers are highly sensitive if they hear of breeding without known parentage. It is true that if one wishes a "pure" variety of dog (or orchid) the parentage needs to be known. BUT there is no benefit from the plant's point of view to this. In fact most "pure" dog breeds have phyisical problems that arise from inbreeding caused by combination of recessive gene alleles from close kin. Evolution has built in a mechanism where flowering plants have male and female sex organs, but must be fertilized by outside sources to limit interbreeding of recessive unhealthy traits.
I would say there is nothing wrong with the O.P.'s statement unless someone was trying to falsely pass off a hybrid as naturally occurring species. Even then, this is of little concern except to the people who are interested in the taxonomy of their plant.

None of this holds true however if we are discussing conservation of endangered species though.

Scientist have always fought over taxonomy and always will. Until the advent of DNA sequencing it was a completely subjective field of study. In fact, in theory one could take any orchid specimen, sequence its DNA, and know its lineage back millions of years...assuming we develop a bank of DNA for orchids as we have for people.
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Last edited by Possum-Pie; 04-02-2018 at 07:40 AM..
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Old 04-02-2018, 09:09 AM
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Possum-Pie, I agree.
I have registered over a half dozen hybrids myself so I believe I can talk from experience. As things stand, there are fewer and fewer independent nurseries and far fewer flasking services. Orchid plant propagation is being concentrated into larger operations. On the one hand, plants have become cheaper and thus perhaps more "throwaway ". But on the other hand, the "artisan" growers are slowly being pushed out. I see absolutely no problems in encouraging people to experiment with crosses as interest leads to innovation. I began with a noid hybrid and as I learnt more about the "system ", I have progressed to registering my own hybrids. The cliche of "everyone has to start at the beginning " applies.
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