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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.:)