Title: Pollination procedure for dieffenbachia
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00066803/00001
 Material Information
Title: Pollination procedure for dieffenbachia
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Henny, R. J.
Affiliation: University of Florida -- Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences -- Agricultural Research and Education Center
Publisher: Agricultural Research and Education Center-Apopka, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publication Date: 1990?
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Funding: Florida Historical Agriculture and Rural Life
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00066803
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text
Pollination Procedure for Dieffenhachia

Pollination Procedure for Dieffenbachia

By R.J. Henny and Eleanor M. Rasmussen

Interest in breeding Dieffenbachia often leads to several questions concerning their unique
floral structure and method of pollination. This paper is intended to serve as a guide for
anyone planning to do breeding work with Dieffenbachia. In central Florida, green house-
grown Dieffenbachia normally flower between April and July although some plants may
be observed flowering at other times of the year. The Dieffenbachia inflorescence is made
up of spadix and a spathe (Figure 1 A Q. The spadix consists of an upright central axis
covered with several minute flowers without petals. Dieffenbachia have separate male
staminatee) and female pistillatee) flowers clustered about the spadix. Female flowers
consist of a stigma, style and ovary while the male flowers (anther and filament) produce
the pollen (a dust-like substance) used to pollinate the stigmatic surface of female flowers.
A pollination involves the transfer of pollen from a selected male flower to the stigma of
the selected female flower. In Dieffenbachia male flowers are grouped on the upper half
of the spadix and female flowers on the basal half (Figure 1C). The spathe covers the
spadix until anthesis (the day of flower opening) when it unfurls and exposes the male
portion of the spadix (Figure 113). Whenever possible the inflorescence should be
pollinated the same day as the spathe unfurls. Usually the spathe unfurls in the evening or
during the night so flowering plants need to be checked daily for newly opened
inflorescences. For example, an inflorescence that opened during a Monday night should
be pollinated Tuesday. The first step in pollinating Dieffenbachia is finding a source of
pollen. The male flowers of Dieffenbachia do not produce pollen until 2-3 days after the
spathe initially unfurled (Figure 1B). This means that it is necessary to collect pollen from
a 2-3 day old inflorescence for use in pollinating a newly opened one. The female flowers
are only receptive of pollen the same day the spathe unfurls and possibly the next. In
nature this prevents self pollination, or inbreeding, and the mechanism is referred to as

Dieffenbachia pollen is easy to observe once it is produced (Figure 2). The portion of the
inflorescence bearing pollen (male or staminate portion) can be cut off with a razor blade
and placed in a dish or other container for easy access. A camel hair brush may be used to
pick up the pollen and transfer it to the stigmatic surface of the female flowers (Figure 3).
The brush will pick up pollen easier if it is first brushed lightly across the moist sticky
surface of the stigma. The stigmatic surfaces of the female flowers may be identified by
their golden yellow color and seeds dry out or they will lose viability rapidly. It is
desirable to clean off the fleshy outer covering from the fruit before planting the seed to
help prevent development of bacteria or fungi in the seed bed. Seeds may be planted on

Pollination Procedure for Dieffenhachia

top of peat or spaghnurn moss and placed under intermittent mist or covered with 1/4"
peat or spaghnum moss and hand watered often enough to prevent drying. Most
Dieffenbachia seed will germinate in 1-3 weeks after planting. Seedlings do not show
their adult variegation pattern until approximately 810 leaves have been produced.

Obtaining seed from Dieffenbachia not easy to accomplish and in many cases seed
production may be poor. Research is currently in progress to study various methods of
increasing seed production in Dieffenbachia.

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