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Author Topic: Billbergia Viridiflora  (Read 1748 times)
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dan
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« on: October 28, 2014, 11:09:57 »

Hi all,

I bought a billbergia viridiflora at one of the Qld Bromeliad society sales a few years ago (I had been looking out for this one for a while so was pleased when it showed up). It is finally flowering again.

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I have some frozen pollen around for some other Billbergia hybrids and thought it might be interesting to  try some crosses given the unusual form of the inflorescence. On the FCBS database I could only find one hybrid for viridiflora as a parent, and in that case it was a pollen parent.

Does anyone have experience on the following issues:

1. Does B.viridflora self-seed?

2. Has anyone had success hybridising with B. viridflora as the seed parent?

For context, I have some very basic experience with hybridizing Billbergia and Achmea.

If it takes I will do an update in a month or two.

Kind regards,

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chefofthebush
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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2014, 19:43:27 »

Oh, what a brilliant plant Dan! Really Cool. I am also interested n the same questions you pose. First start pollinating the flowers by hand and see if they take. If not, you know for next time. Then you will be stuck with the problem of getting a second non-related individual to act as pollen donor if you wish to get true to type species seedlings. It should take with hybridising. The results would depend on the hybrid parents - and that is anyones guess.

If you are able to get it to self pollinate I would be interested in begging some seed off you.

Have fun,

Conrad
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splinter1804
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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2014, 21:47:18 »

Hi everyone.

Dan, what an unusual inflorescence;very, very different. Can you get a close up picture of the flowers please?

Although it's only been used as the pollen parent with one Bill. cross (Bill.'Space Rocket') See: http://registry.bsi.org/index.php?fields=Parents&id=1126&search=viridiflora
It has also been used as the seed parent in one bi-generic cross as well (xBILLNELIA ‘Sebastian Laruelle’) See:http://registry.bsi.org/index.php?fields=Parents&id=9318&search=viridiflora

Like Conrad, I too would be interested in a bit of seed if you manage to have any spare (either swap or buy). I think it's good insurance to spread seed around between a few different growers as this increases the chance of success and eventually getting some pups from other grower's seedlings when they become available.

Good luck with your crossings.

All the best,Nev.

P.S. Don't forget you can also store pollen in the freezer for future use. There is a previous thread about "pollen storage". See: http://www.bromeliadforum.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=1044.msg7274#msg7274
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dan
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« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2014, 11:23:29 »

Thank you for the responses.


I will take some more photos once the flowers open. I was not paying attention when it was flowering originally, but I think I remember the anthers being very dry on pollen - nothing like the bountiful gold anthers on most Billbergia.

If it self-seeds I will happily share seed - (though I don't know much about and import/export restrictions re South Africa and wouldn't want to cause a problem in that regard).

I find it odd that this plant has not been used more often in hybridizing due to its unique inflorescence - maybe the foliage is just not special enough?


Kind regards
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« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2014, 22:03:01 »

Hi everyone.

Dan - The reasons it hasn't been used much for breeding could be many, including the sparse production of pollen as you say, and the fact that the foliage isn't attractive enough.

The fact that it has such a graceful inflorescence should alone be sufficient to make perseverance warranted. As for the lack of foliage colour, this could be improved with successive generations of breeding just like it has in other Bill's with uninteresting foliage patterns and colours.

I think the keyword for any good hybridiser is "perseverance", and if at first you don't succeed, try and try again.

There's many beautiful hybrids that can be traced back to species with uninteresting marked foliage and it was just the introduction of the right "other parent" that produced some magnificently colour foliage. Could you visualise for example a plant the colour of Hallelujah with that magnificent arching inflorescence? It would certainly be an "eye opener", don't you think?

The fact that this plant has such a wonderful, graceful, arching inflorescence makes it a definite candidate in the perseverance stakes, and even if you don't have any plants to cross it with, it's certainly worth "selfing" and storing any pollen for future use.

Just one question; what is the life of the flowers, short like most Bill's or hopefully a bit longer.

All the best, Nev.
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« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2014, 22:14:39 »

I don't think the flowers last much longer, but the inflorescence and filaments connecting the flowers to the main stalk are definitely much more ligneous  that the average Billbergia. The bracts are also tougher. Regular Billbergia flower bracts feel like rose petals (or softer) - but this is different, more like paper or light cardboard. In those respect the inflorescence is more like that of an Aechmea.

Last time it kept its form for over a month from memory.

I took a photo of the first flower to open this morning (not a great one thought). I notice that the anthers look under formed - there is no pollen at all? Seems as though the anther has not completely formed, or perhaps the pollen is activated later in the day at different time to the stigma? I will find out soon enough I am sure but had not seen this before in a billbergia.


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Kayleen C
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« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2014, 11:46:07 »

Dan maybe check through the day if you can as the pollen might not burst until later in the day.
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« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2014, 21:02:05 »

Hi everyone

Thanks for the pic. Dan. I can only say what others have said, just keep checking the flowers throughout the day to see when there is some pollen available. More importantly, write on the back of the name tag, what time of the day the pollen is ready so you will know next time.

All the best, Nev.
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2014, 05:24:47 »

Hi all -

Looks like the flowers on this species activate later in the day. Today, I check it out early afternoon (as opposed to early morning) and there was a noticeable difference. The anthers are clearly active and covered in pollen - the pollen started forming at about 9:30 am. The pollen is a pale green/yellow which is different from the billbergia's I am used to but is consistent with photos I found after a google search. In addition, the stigma appears to be more receptive as pollen is  'sticking' better.

Tomorrow I will wait until the evening and see if there is a greater difference again. I am keeping track of what time each flower is pollinated so if something takes I should know for next time and will share the results in a month or two - assuming that the pods don't take longer on this species.

Thanks for the comments.



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splinter1804
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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2014, 06:40:57 »

Hi everyone

Thanks for the update Dan, hopefully you'll have heaps of seed to swap around with your brom friends.

All the best, Nev.
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Kayleen C
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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2014, 09:38:57 »

Happy it is working for you Dan. Some growers I know set alarms for early am to pollinate some plants.
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chefofthebush
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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2014, 15:04:27 »

Dan, It looks as if you should get a quite a bit of pollen off that baby! If you cannot catch it in time, cut off the anthers when the flower is open and keep them inside in a wind free spot and check them until the pollen is released. You can then use that pollen the next day, or freeze it for later use. At times I have take off flower heads from friends gardens and harvested the pollen from the cut flower for later use.

I really love those jade green flowers! A real beaut!

Conrad
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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2014, 20:43:47 »

Hi everyone.

First let me say that I'm not a dedicated species only grower, and although my main hobby is hybrids, I think all brom growers should "do their bit" to help preserve bromeliad species. I know that hybrids seems to get all the mentions, but when we stop and think, without the species we wouldn't have the hybrids.

Some growers, just grow hybrids, some only grow species and some (like me) grow a bit of each. It doesn't matter which category we fall into, I think we all have a responsibility to try and grow at least a few species and help prevent them becoming extinct like so many others in their natural habitat.

The amount of land clearing that's taking place in a lot of bromeliad habitats is decimating large areas where these plants grow naturally, and once the habitat is gone so are the brom's. The worrying thing is, there are probably as yet undiscovered species which will be destroyed before they are even found and recorded, let alone saved.

When we get a species which isn't easily obtainable (and from what I see in my area I think Billbergia  viridiflora is possibly one, as I've never seen it locally) we need to do all we can to try and keep that species in circulation. The best way to do this is to spread it around as many different growers from different areas as possible; that way if it should die out in one area there are still the other areas to fall back on. With plants in short supply, there's obviously not sufficient pups to swap/sell or spread around in any other way so the next best thing is obviously seeds that are the result of "selfing" as we are told that species which are self pollinated will come true to form.

This is why I'm "beating my drum" at this time because Dan has the plant, in flower, and the opportunity to self a few flowers and spread the seed around between other growers. Who knows? Somewhere down the track, if Dan's plant should die for some reason, he will still have the opportunity to replace it with one of the seedlings he helped to produce. So come on Dan, do your stuff, the pressure's on!
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Kayleen C
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« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2014, 10:00:24 »

I think when people are selling pups off their plants, a picture of the inflorescence would help.
A lot of species are not real attractive but the inflorescence can be.
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dan
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« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2014, 20:44:36 »

I agree with all the above. Although I suppose there is not substitute for preservation of the natural habitat and the whole gene pool of the species. Species which can self-seed still undergo genetic recombination during formation of the gametes, so that gives some genetic variation, but will always be limited by genes of the original clone.

I didn't realise you can take off the anthers before pollen burst and that the pollen would still activate. I will try that out.
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