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Poppies: maintaining purity of Papaver somniferum selections

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Forum: PoppiesReplies: 16, Views: 193
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David_Vermont
Orwell, VT

February 23, 2008
9:45 PM

Post #4578657

I have been growing one type of Papaver somniferum that is a semi double red for years. This past year I sowed a different type which turned out to be a lovely pink. There was no danger of cross pollination of these two different poppies because they flowered at different times but this coming year there will be since both reseeded in the same location. Does one have to isolate to maintain purity of a certain cultivar? Since I really like the pink but I'm so so on the semi double red should I remove all the reds as they try to flower?

Thank you for your help
mudpiegirl
Los Lunas, NM

February 24, 2008
10:03 PM

Post #4583098

Hi! I have rampant cross-pollination (within species of course) of all of my poppies, including my somniferum poppies. I enjoy the range of colors and textures but if I really want a particular color (like the beautiful whites or blue breadseeds) I buy fresh seed and replant to make sure I get them. I suspect that if you want to be certain that you avoid cross pollination, you will need to either do as you did last year with carefully spaced timing or buy fresh seed. Bees travel far, so I wouldn't count on distance, at least within your yard. At least that's been my experience. Good luck!
David_Vermont
Orwell, VT

February 25, 2008
1:03 AM

Post #4583897

Thank you Mudpiegirl!

The information that you have given is very helpful. I'm most likely going to end up with a grand genetic mixture! I will save some seed of my favorite pink for a different growing season. I have kept seed for several years and it has stayed viable.

David
mudpiegirl
Los Lunas, NM

February 28, 2008
12:15 AM

Post #4598058

I'm glad I could help-- I have kept seed for several years and it seems to sprout just fine.
paracelsus
Elmira, NY
(Zone 6a)

March 3, 2008
2:08 AM

Post #4614564

If you want to save seed, you can isolate a bud by covering it with a little muslin bag once the stalk straightens out but before the flower actually opens. Once the flower opens, use a q-tip to gently rub pollen from the stamens onto the center of the ovary (hole in the top), then recover. You only really need to do this for a couple days, since once the flower opens and is pollinated, the petals fall off and it is on its way to producing the seed. One pod should give you plenty enough seed for the following year. You can also create interesting crosses this way.
David_Vermont
Orwell, VT

March 3, 2008
2:27 AM

Post #4614658

So it's a matter of "forced" self pollination! And since each plant can have more than one flower you can see what an individual plant's flower looks like before selecting a bud to cover. This means that P. somniferum is true to type... poppy genetics... might be more complex. But I will give it a try. Thank you Paracelsus.

David
mudpiegirl
Los Lunas, NM

March 3, 2008
3:05 AM

Post #4614870

That's really interesting. Does crossing a flower with itself cause any kind of genetic weakness (like inbreeding in humans)? Forgive me if that is a dumb question, I don't know nothin' about plant genetics!
paracelsus
Elmira, NY
(Zone 6a)

March 4, 2008
11:42 AM

Post #4620479

That's not a dumb question; it's a good one. I have recently been reading about breeding vegetables, and I know that's an issue with some plants and not others. I don't know if it's an issue with poppies. I don't think so, though, since there are many named cultivars and they are not hybrids but usually they are actually stronger and bigger than the species.
cowgirl2
Calgary
Canada

March 5, 2008
4:20 AM

Post #4624230

David,

You worry too much. There will some cross pollination that will result in different varieties. But much of the seed will be true. So mark the different flowers and collect them separatly. I have gotten seed that says one thing but find that along with that described flower, there are 5 or 6 other flower forms and colours. Enjoy the variety. Don't worry.
David_Vermont
Orwell, VT

March 5, 2008
4:47 PM

Post #4625763

Me??? Worry too much? Ahh we all have to have some faults. Thank you cowgirl2 your knowledge will help me plan my garden plantings this spring.

David
bradh616
Albany, GA
(Zone 8a)

March 25, 2008
8:29 PM

Post #4708758

This will be my first attempt at growing poppies this year. If I am successfull in getting them to grow is there any danger of cross breeding between my P. Somniferum and my P. Eschscholzia?
timeinabottle
Louisville, KY

March 26, 2008
12:24 AM

Post #4709482

bradh616 interspecies crosses rarely happen and when they do the seeds are usually sterile. Your chances of getting a successful cross which grew to a plant would be in the one in a hundred million category.
bradh616
Albany, GA
(Zone 8a)

March 26, 2008
2:20 AM

Post #4710057

Good!! and thanks. I didn't think it was possible. I actually did real good in all the classification stuff when I was in school but that seems like eons ago, LOL. I should probably look over all that stuff again!
paracelsus
Elmira, NY
(Zone 6a)

March 26, 2008
1:37 PM

Post #4711210

He isn't talking about interspecies crossing, though. He was talking about two varieties of the same species, one red and one pink. So there is a good chance of crossing if their flowering overlaps. 'Course, that could be a good thing.:)
timeinabottle
Louisville, KY

March 27, 2008
2:30 AM

Post #4714467

I think Brad 616h is talking about a cross between P somniferum and P escholzia which is an interspecies cross.
bradh616
Albany, GA
(Zone 8a)

March 27, 2008
3:30 AM

Post #4714729

Correct Time, they are the same Family & Genus but different species. I looked it up ; )
paracelsus
Elmira, NY
(Zone 6a)

March 27, 2008
11:59 AM

Post #4715968

Oh, I see--I thought the comment was about the original post.

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