Monday, May 20, 2013

Genetic Mutations

When hybridizing, it's inevitable to run into something not quite right. Especially dealing with yellows. African violets aren't supposed to be yellow. It's not really in their genes. Those that do bloom yellow flowers are doing so because they are freaks.

Anyways I got some really, really strange and ugly out of the Ness Fantasy Gold cross with Rhapsodie Stephanie.

Two of the uglies that take the cake:

and saving the better of them for last:


What's going on?????!!!!

Homeotic Mutation. It's actually kinda interesting. There's a lot of scientific articles based on the phenomenon. That one is just one. (it looks like "type 1" aka 'macho' in their diagram, but I'm not going to say for sure.) A genetic defect is causing some (or many) of the flowers to produce anthers instead of normal petals. Oh and some of those Anther petals DO produce some pollen. Not as much as the center ones do, but still pollen from what should be a petal seems awkward at best.

I keep this one for now, but it's not a priority. Rather I want to donate it to the University of MN extension office if they want a plant to study for this kind of mutation.  The other one went to a local AV club member.

Fortunately NOT all of the seedlings from this cross show this mutation so strongly. it seems variable. It also makes me wonder if the yellow in the anther is in fact the clue to how yellow violets came to be.

Horrible Decisions That Need Making

The hardest part of any hybridizer is what to do when they have 200+ seedlings and can't provide the light or space for them.  It's hard enough, but when they all bloom about the same.

I feel like a horrible mother. I did the most horrible sin.  I just murdered my children. But the trash can they had to go. (I would compost them but the apartment resident council is against the idea presently.)  I need the floor space. I need to have my sink back, my table, and my kitchen countertop.  I'm going insane without these. And I have a whole new batch of seedlings growing and other violets that need the water more.  I can only water so many plants a day. Many of my other, more spectacular violets are getting neglected, left to dry up. While these?

Please tell me I made the right decision. Tossing two bins of this:

B26 x Woodland Sprite

and saving:



E30 (and a few others with this leaf shape)


I'll also add that about 20-100 of the seedlings were given away or sold. So not all of them went to the dumpster, but I did have to cull a lot.  I want to make way for the Ness Fantasy Gold cross and the new seedlings I'm growing out this year.

Things I won't get to know from this cross:

- If woodland Sprite carried any pink flowering gene (so far all have bloomed blue)
- if woodland sprite or B26 carried the star flower shape (so far I haven't seen any.)
- exactly how many of the close to 300 seedlings survived or would have survived
- some of B26's hidden traits. She died after the cross. i didn't save any backup leaves.

What am I to do with the remaining?

I'm thinking of crossing them with a variegated to get the woodland sprite's traits on a variegated leaf.  Anyone find that idea interesting besides me?