Pollination of Strawberries
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: M. McIntosh
Posted on: January 10, 2000

Are the following varieties open-pollinated, and what is the approximate number of seeds per packet?

S6080, Alpine Strawberry S6090, Sweetheart Strawberry

As far as I know, the only time small flowered plants are anything but open-pollinated is during the time the variety is in development as a new variety. During development plants are usually hand-pollinated and the few seeds that result from this are just not enough in number for anything other experimental use. In large plants such as corn, where the male and female flowers are well separated from each other it is easy enough to cut off the male tassels from one row of plants and thus get nothing but crossbred seed from the stamenless plants.

The other way to get crossbred plants from small flowered plants is to find a mutant plant that produces plants of only male or female fertility and allow it to be bee-pollinated by plants that have fully fertile flowers. As far as I know no such plants were used by the producers of our seed. Therefore the seed produced by our plants should produce plants that are only minimally different from their parents -AS LONG AS THE PLANTS WERE GROWN IN ISOLATION! If you have several varieties of the same species of plant growing within 500 feet(150 meters) of each other, the bees pollinating them will scramble their genes! For example we keep having problems with the red basils getting greener every year or the tiny bush basils getting taller every year -the growers simply do not grow them in suffient isolation and are not vigilant enough in pulling mutated plants out of their fields.

The Alpine strawberries packaged for the year 2000 contain 0.12 gram seed or about 600 seeds. We are sorry but we have not been able to get any seed for the sweetheart strawberry and could not offer it in the year 2000 catalogue.

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