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Author Topic: does anyone pay attention to Neo flowers?  (Read 768 times)
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Mike W
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« on: June 01, 2012, 18:53:04 »

Hi,

Every now and then, I see one of the Neos flowering, and it always seems to be a little purple one.  I don't really study them, tho?

Does anyone?  are theyat all diagnostic for ID the plant.?  are they all purple?

thanks Mike
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Lisa
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2012, 20:38:34 »

Mike, they are definitely diagnostic for species identification, and will continue to be as long as taxonomy is based on floral morphology (if DNA analysis takes over, then that's another story).  If you go to the Neo. section of the FCBS photo index and scroll through the species photos, many of them will have close-ups of the flowers, and in some cases Uncle Derek has removed the inflorescence from the plant to better illustrate the distinguishing characters.  For most people, they're not something you'd notice from a galloping horse, but when you take the time to look (and measure the parts), there's actually quite a bit of variation. 

Petal color is usually not considered diagnostic, only because the current system relies on dried herbarium specimens in which the pigments are long gone, so relative size and arrangent of all floral parts are usually the key.  For those of us with live plants to work with, however, petal color can be a very helpful indicator of ID.  They're not all purple, they can be white, blue, lavender, green, even pink, in many different shades and two-tone combinations.  Also the shape and amount of openness can vary a lot.  Some species even have fragrant flowers, although this is not considered a diagnostic feature either. 

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paul_t23
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2012, 04:36:53 »

Hi Mike,

Also re "does anyone pay attention to Neo flowers?" - a lot of the people round here stick things in them  Shocked Shocked Shocked

They're probably just too embarrassed to say  Roll Eyes
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Lisa
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2012, 08:57:31 »

Yes, it's while we are sticking things in them (and removing parts of them to stick into other things) that we become intimately acquainted with all of their little variations.   Kiss
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Mike W
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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2012, 05:27:57 »

out of curiousity, for those that you don't hybridize, do you sometimes get stray seedings.  I was curious if i pollinate some and just let them be, if I am likely to get some seedlings growing in the pots?  Since I am asking, what do you"stick in the flowers" to pollinate with?

Mike
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Lisa
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2012, 09:55:21 »

I'm not sure what you mean by "stray seedlings", Mike.  Generally you have to harvest the seed and sow it, they don't just appear in the pot, at least not with Neos.   

Only self-pollinators will set seed without outside help.  Most Neos are not selfers, but there are a number that are.  This thread may be of interest to you:   
http://www.bromeliadforum.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=1563.0 

As to what we stick in the flowers to pollinate them, well........... pollen, of course.  There are various tools that can be used.  My favorite is a pair of curved tweezers, but some people like to use a brush.  Here's another thread that goes into detail about the entire process of pollination, seed and pollen storage, including a lengthy discussion of tool preferences (several pages).
http://www.bromeliadforum.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=1044.0   
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Mike W
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2012, 18:37:16 »

I'm not sure what you mean by "stray seedlings", Mike.  Generally you have to harvest the seed and sow it, they don't just appear in the pot, at least not with Neos.   


That is what I meant.  Will look at these other posts.  Sometimes you get Gasteria and Haworthia just showing up as seedlings in pots, that is why I wondered.  Some cacti, not many. 

I guess in habitat, wind and insects, get the seeds out of the cup?  Mike
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2012, 20:40:57 »

Wind will disseminate seeds of Tillandsias and the like.  The subgenus Tillandsioideae (including Vriesea, Guzmania and Catopsis) all have light, wind-borne seeds like a dandelion.  The subg. Bromelioideae, of which Neoregelia is a member, have fleshy berries.  Those with raised inflorescences, like Aechmea, Billbergia, etc. can drop seeds here and there, but for inflorescences that are sunk in the cup like Neos, the fruits would more likely have to be eaten by a bird, rodent or reptile, and pass through their digestive system first.  Off the top of my head, I can only think of a handful of Neo species that will self-pollinate, although if you had a variable wild population of different clones and an active pollinator (insect or other critter), that would no doubt increase the possibility of seed set. 
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