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Author Topic: Hechtia glomerata RA  (Read 537 times)
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sdandy
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« on: January 27, 2013, 16:46:38 »

Haven't posted anything in a while and have been taking some pictures lately.  This is one of my favorite H. glomerata clones.  It is a male and it looks like the one planted in the ground is going to bloom again this year (so some pollen might get used...).

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Here in the garden underneath a Hechtia Lynn.

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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2013, 04:38:44 »

Any idea on the natural ratio of males to females? I have yet to see a female in bloom.
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2013, 05:52:39 »

I would have to assume it will be 50/50.  I haven't noticed a clear and obvious difference in the ones I've seen.  But I haven't seen too many populations with a substantial number of plants in bloom at the particular time that I am there.  I have seen way more males in bloom in the wild than females, but I (again) assume that the males have a longer/broader blooming season to ensure maximum pollination potential with when any female might be blooming (most of the time when I am down there the females have already set fruit but the males are still blooming).  Likewise it is more common to see old female spikes than old male spikes...but again in an assumption that is due to the fact that they stems last longer during seed production so are probably more 'sturdy'.  I have collected seeds off of remnant spikes that were at least 2 years old (if not older), so sometimes they are fairly 'persistent'.  I can't imagine much of an evolutionary advantage for any species to favor one sex over the other, but I wouldn't rule it out.  Can you think of any possibilities?  One interesting wrinkle could be comparing lateral blooming vs terminal blooming plants.  It seems like I have seen the lateral blooming plants blooming more frequent than terminal blooming...but that doesn't seem that surprising.
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2013, 05:53:57 »

Oh, and I might guess males bloom more frequently as it takes less energy to bloom when you don't have to worry about investing energy in seed production.  I think cycads tend to do that as well, where the males bloom more frequently than females.
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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2013, 03:45:58 »

So do you think that the collectors went and picked blooming plants, the majority of which were male, to bring back to the US? Or, did they grow them from seed and the male seedlings were picked for distribution for some reason?
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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2013, 04:02:31 »

I think males are just more prone to blooming and do so more frequently or have a lower threshold of energy/size/happiness before blooming (so we know they are males).

There could be a selective pressure where males pup more freely than females and therefore are vegetatively propagated and distributed more widely...but I haven't seen any proven correlation for that.  I think any time I have heard/seen that it was just speculation. 

Taking that a bit further: if in wild populations the males in a population are those that pup more, those are likely the ones to be collected versus fully mature plants (you can fit more pups in a box than mature plants! or pups won't mangle their Tillandsias as bad).  Historically, I'm not sure that many collectors focused on seeds when they could take living plants.  From what I can tell most of the old-time people would randomly pick up a plant or two when they were looking for Tillandsias.  Fun thought experiment.  Any other ideas?
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« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2013, 14:27:23 »

I had to go to work pretty hard to get a female Androlepis skinneri and a female Aechmea mariae-reginae. Now I'm having to search high and low for a female Hechtia since everything, so far, has been male.
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2013, 04:29:34 »

I think mine are fairly evenly split. ~5 females and ~6 males.  I have three new ones starting to bloom, so I'll see what those are soon.
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