Female maturity and Ants

Bloomin_Onion(2/3)July 9, 2014

Can I manually open a flower that's close to blooming, and inject it with male pollen from a fully opened male flower, and it get pollinated? I get that the male needs to be mature so it's pollen will work, but if I pollinate the female a few days early, will the pollen still work when the flower gets mature or maybe it won't even need to open at all?

Also, I noticed that freshly opened female flowers attract hordes of black ants like no other! Do the females have some kind of syrup that the ants like or something? The photo on the right was taken after I pollinated her, so many of the ants ran off but you can still see a few! They were all in the centre down near the little organ inside.

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

The pollen has to be ripe or the sperm cells inside can't function. Sperm cells only live for a short time. The female organ must also be ripe....the stigmatic surface must be receptive to the pollen and the eggs located within the ovary must be ready.

Plants function by hormones and the timing of successful pollen germination and egg fertilization is critical....and it's the plant's own timing, not ours.

The plant is telling you something.....listen. It takes a lot of plant energy to produce flowers and all of their functioning parts. To ensure insect pollination at the critically optimal time, plants will produce sweet nectar as both an enticement and a reward for cooperative insects. Including ants, by the way!

Again, it takes a lot of energy to produce nectar, so the plants will only do so when the timing is exactly right. Once successful fertilization occurs, the plant is able to quickly shut down the show and enticement of flower production in order to concentrate on fruit/seed development.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:01PM
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so will mature sperm wait inside an immature flower for a few days and then pollinate it when the female is ready? Does pollen... not the flower itself.. but the Pollen have a life expectancy of more than a day or two?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:26PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

so will mature sperm wait inside an immature flower for a few days and then pollinate it when the female is ready?

No, viable pollen is very short lived, hours, not days, with the number of hours determined by both hormonal and environmental conditions. That's one reason why you normally get so many more male blooms and why most plant more than 1 plant (to insure the timing for pollination)..

The female bloom in your picture looks like it will open within 12-18 hours of when the photo was taken. You or a bee and a newly opened male has to be there at that time . :)


    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:39PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Please read rhizo's explanation again, slowly, so that you can fully understand the time line that nature has set.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:40PM
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