Pollen Exchange ( the exchange is just beginning 3/30/2016, Help us make it work!)
One of the benefits of being a part of plant societies is the connections that are made. In order to expand the opportunities for hybridizers, the Dwarf Iris Society and the Aril Society International are offering a pollen exchange.
How does it work?
Small investment/high risk/ but big rewards
Pollen can remain viable for a week or more stored cool and dry. If it is frozen, it can often remain viable for over a year. This means that dried pollen can be kept for next year's breeding or shared with others through the mail. If the pollen gets moist, or even the humidity gets too high, it may try to germinate or die. Although the risk is high that it may not work when received, the investment is low in terms of what may be lost. So exchanging pollen is a viable process. Years ago the first Standard Dwarf Irises were conceived from pollen shipped in the mail between Paul Cook and Geddes Douglas. When it works the rewards can be high and it does not require dividing a plant or picking a flower. Since each flower has three anthers, one can still share one or two and still have another for using in one's own hybridizing. Hopefully even if you are not using it yourself you will make a cross or two, to create seed for the seed exchange. So exchanging pollen is a small effort that may do a great deal of good.
Anthers can be harvested, dried for a few minutes, popped into a coin envelope and placed in the refrigerator for use within a few days; if not, the pollen can be put in the freezer for long term storage. E-mail a list of available pollen and I will post it on this page. Members may contact the donor directly by e-mail and send a stamped self addressed envelop for the delivery to them.
MDBs may be in bloom in one part of the country while Tall Beardeds may be in bloom further South. I will list all types of bearded irises. Unfortunately if you live in the south you may have to wait till the following year to get pollen for an MDB X MDB cross. But I will try to note what's available as fast as the donors let me know. My e-mail address is robertpries@embarqmail. Lets hope we can get some interesting hybridizing to occur that would have not happened otherwise. ---
How can I participate?
Since this is just getting started, and we will have things to work out, you can help by saving pollen, labeling it and storing it, and sending me a list. My season is just beginning as I write this so as irises come into bloom in my garden I will be collecting the pollen and adding it to this list. I hope you will do the same. Hopefully you will also make and record some crosses at the same time so we can provide seed for the seed exchanges later this year. To receive pollen, it is better that one contact the donor directly since sending it to one central location would mean thawing twice and possibly lowering the % viable.
How to hybridize Bearded Irises
I will update this with more information later but in essence wiping the pollen of the anther onto the stigmatic lip should do the job. There are lots of variables that can affect pollination. Usually pollinating early in the day works best and pollinating in the rain does not offer good results.
Lists of contributors and donors to the exchange
MDBs Cultivar name followed by donor abbreviation
Chuck Chapman @ firstname.lastname@example.org
MDB pollen during bloom season in Canada.
TBs. Mostly historic in Tennessee. I have some NoIDs
too if you don't mind.