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Re: Aponogeton crispus

Merle McCartney wrote, Thursday, Aug. 14:
>I'm making my first serious attempt at a nicely planted tank, and have had
>mixed results to date.  One success appears to be my A. crispus (may be a
>hybrid - I'm not sure) which shot up some flower spikes after the first
>couple of weeks.  I've never had plants flower in my tanks before, so I'm
>not sure how to proceed, and I'm woefully ignorant of plant reproduction.
>Can I pollinate from one spike to another on the same plant?  What's the
>best way to pollinate? I have a glass cover on the tank, with the lights
>sitting on the glass.  The flowers are butting up against the glass, which
>is less than ideal, I'm sure.  Will the heat from the lights (a pair of 20w
>fluorescent bulbs on a 38h tank) be a problem?  And for future reference,
>do these plants require a resting period over the winter?  Thanks for your
>Merle McCartney
You can take a small, soft paint brush, such as a watercolor brush, and
brush the pollen around on each spike.  I believe that crispus
self-pollinates, and that means that moving the pollen from the male to the
female parts of the flowers on one spike is as good as trying to transfer
pollen from one spike to another.  If the plant is self sterile,
transfering from one spike to another will not work.  The transfer has to
be from the flower of one plant to the flower of another plant.  Another
thing you can do is dip a flower spike in the water.  A patch pollen will
spread out on the surface.  Then dip the spike again and again into this
patch of pollen, some of which will adhere to the stigmas .  If the
fertilization is successful, in a week you will see some green 'seedpods'
form, and these will soon open up to release the seedlings, which will
float for a day or so before sinking.  If the flower spikes are right up
against the glass, and if the fluorescent bulbs are within an inch or two
of the glass, the flowers might be damaged by the heat.  It would be best
to keep the fluorescent tubes about 3-4 inches away, if possible.

My experience is that these plants usually go into a resting period because
of low nutrients, crowding by other plants, or some other problem rather
than because of the season.  If you have your lights on a timer and are
giving them 13-16 hours of light (long day), they won't get any seasonal
cues that it is winter.

Paul Krombholz                  Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS  39174, in
steamy Jackson, Mississippi, where our windows are fogged up on the
outside, even though our air conditioning has quit.