Question for the gardeners

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  • #15332

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Why is it when you buy a packet of seeds, and the seeds all look the same, and yet a completely different plant grows from one seed. For instance, swan plants, and one plant is still a swan plant but the butterflies don’t lay on and the caterpillars won’t eat?

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  • #30474

    Jane
    Participant

    Yes it would pay to use cuttings. The resulting clones will eliminate many variables with the potential to corrupt your data.

    #30473

    Darren
    Participant

    hmm, in that case if I get a chance to repeat my companion planting experiment I’d do better using cuttings rather than growing from seed. Good to know, thanks.

    #30472

    Jane
    Participant

    Hi Darren,

    I’m struggling to remember all my botany nowadays, but there are a number of ovules in an ovary and I think more than one pollen grain can enter and contribute genes. I’m not entirely sure on this now though, however I have defineately had variations from one seedpod.

    #30471

    Darren
    Participant

    Jane would that still be true if the seeds were all from the same seedpod, and therefore presumably all from the same flower?

    Or can a single flower be fertilised numerous times?

    #30469

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Fantastic Jane, thanks for that.

    #30466

    Jane
    Participant

    Because seed has differing genetic inputs from both the male and female parent. Seed is therefore variable and unreliable for the production of clones (exact copies). Even if the seed is from the same parent plants, and they were isolated at pollination, there will still be differences, just as there are with human siblings from the same parent. The differences include variety in the chemical compounds and enzymes present within the plant. There may be two plants growing right next to each other from the same seed, but one will be more attractive to the butterflies or more tasty to the larvae.

    Seed may also be gathered from differing locations and there will be differences depending on which plants were the contributors of the genes at that location.

    I have grown swanplants from one packet of seed and had a huge diversity of results……..narrow leaves/borad leaves, long leaves/short leaves, tall plants/short squat plants, pale green/dark green leaves, mauve flowers/cream flowers…….all this makes for good genetic diversity, and if you are prepared to put in the extra work of isolating interesting crosses, it is possible to try to influence the results for a particular outcome!

    In your example Jacqui, it probably tastes like S%*>!
    Perhaps that would be an interesting one to use in a breeding program…..there again perhaps not!

    #30465

    milkweed
    Participant

    I can only think that a different seed got mixed in accidently and then germinated. If its definitely still a swan plant then maybe time will allow the butterflies to eventually use it.

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