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Re: Hybrids (was E. cordifolius)

On Tue, 26 Sep 2000, CK wrote:

> Roger, care to share with us how you got your E. cordifolius seeds?

I grew a single plant emersed in a fish bowl about 1/3-filled with
substrate material and the rest the way with water.  The substrate was a
mix of aquarium gravel and potting soil, with some DTPA iron mixed into
the lower part, and capped with an inch or so of clean gravel.  I used
Jobes House Plant spikes for macronutrients.   I put some ramshorn snails
in the tank to keep algae down and they did a great job.

The plant took what I thought was an amazing amount of water -- about a
gallon and a half a week, which I dutifully provided by topping the bowl
up twice a week.

It was a beautiful plant that eventually covered an area about 2 1/2 feet
in diameter. Once the plant reached mature size it started putting out
3-foot long flower stalks.  Each node on the stalks produced several
flowers and as many as three plantlets.  The flowers opened just after
dawn and stayed open till near sunset.  Afterwords a seed head about 1-cm
in diameter developed from the flower.  It takes a month or so for the
seed head to ripen.

The plant grew well from early May through most of August then started
getting pretty sickly.  I recently figured out that with my tap water
additions and the high water use by the plant that the salt content in the
water in the bowl probably exceeded 8,000 ppm; very brackish.  I drained
the bowl over the weekend and refilled with fresh water.  Hopefully the
plant will recover.

So far I have "harvested" only two of the five stalks that the plant
produced.  That gave me several plantlets that I adapted to submersed
growth and eventually traded at the LFS.  It also gave me several ripe
seed heads.  I removed the seeds by rolling them between my fingers and
stored the seeds in an envelope.  The plant still has three stalks on it
and there are probably close to 50 seed heads on those stalks.  About half
of those heads are ripe.  The seeds are small and I'm probably getting at
least 15 seeds per head.

I am assuming that since the plant produced seeds that it was self
fertile.  Would a self-sterile plant pollinate and produce sterile seeds?

Since there is only one individual involved the genetic diversity among
the seeds should be small.

My plan at this point is to setup some covered, clear plastic trays (from
a grocery store salad bar) with a wet, clean sand substrate, sprinkle the
seeds on the surface of the sand and keep it wet for as long as it takes
the plants to germinate.  If seedlings develop then I'll transplant those
to a more fertile substrate to grow out.  I'll grow them out emersed in
the same kind of container that I sowed them in. I can probably sow
several hundred seeds and I might be able to raise 50 plants to the size
an inch or two, but probably no more than 10 to a size large enough to
adapt to submersed growth and eventually sell or trade.

Aside from the fertility of the seeds, I'm concerned that the room
temperature may be too cool and/or the photoperiod too short for
germination and early growth.