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Aloeaceae Open Discussion of Aloe and the related genus such as Gasteria and Haworthia

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Old 12-17-2013, 05:56 PM
epiphyte epiphyte is offline
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Default Fuzzy Tree Aloe?

Fuzzy succulents are pretty neat! Unless it's glochids...*heebie jeebies*

Maybe a little over a week ago I noticed that my Aloe haworthioides was blooming. I've had this plant for a really long time and I don't think I even knew it was an Aloe when I purchased it. When I saw it blooming...I had a vision of a large fuzzy Aloe.

So I carefully used a large needle to scrape some pollen into the bottom half of a plastic water bottle. Then I used it to pollinate the only other Aloe that I had blooming at the same time...Aloe arborescens. I really wasn't expecting any pods to form...but today I noticed a few pods forming. None of the other flowers were forming pods so I'm guessing the cross took.

Is it possible for pods to form but the seeds not to? Or do the pods only develop because the seeds are growing?

Their morphology is quite different...but I read that Aloe haworthioides is promiscuous. So perhaps the seeds from this cross might be viable. If they are viable...anybody want to try and predict whether the fuzziness will be dominant or recessive?

When they germinate...I really want to be like that girl in Despicable Me..."They're so fluffy I'm going to die!!!"

There's some pollen left over...and my thraskii and ferox are pretty close to blooming...so I'll pollinate as many of their flowers as I can.

What do you think? Would anybody else want a fluffy tree Aloe in their garden?
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Old 12-17-2013, 06:17 PM
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I've had pods partially develop then fall off...hopefully yours won't!
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:05 PM
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ok a couple of things. I think of fuzzy flowers such as tomentosa and pubescens and trichosantha. I think of haworthioides as having bristle covered leaves...actually little soft thorns. Bot not really fuzzy. When you combine this with something else you usually get something in the middle so big leaves with less thorns and that is not going to really look very "fuzzy" at least not the first go around (maybe the five or sixth?)

Also, you said you got seed set. Did you prevent and exclude the local birds and bees? Just getting seed pods does not mean you have made it yet.

A few other hints, it works better going long flower (arborescens) pollen onto the shorter flower (haworthioides ) pod plant.

Also, most things crossed with arborescens come out looking like arborescens So it is not one of my favorite "parents" it also seems to like the mite or rather the mite likes it so for that reason, i would branch out to other species ....Just 2 cents!

Good luck and you might need therapy!
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Old 12-18-2013, 03:22 AM
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Melt In The Sun, good to know. I'm going to cross my fingers but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Kelly Griffin, bristly? Not fuzzy. Yeah, I suppose you're right. But I don't have to squint very hard for it to look kinda fuzzy.

Why is it bristly? Do they function like trichomes on a Tillandsia? Or more like spines on a porcupine?

No, I didn't exclude anybody from the pollination parade. Nobody showed up last year so I didn't bother with the yellow caution tape. I think I'm the only one in my neighborhood with any Aloes. It's a very small neighborhood surrounded by commercial property. But it's not like I have any idea how far my hummingbird strays.

Maybe I should go door to door offering people free thraskii seedlings? I'd tell people that there was a hummingbird controlling me.

Honestly I tried to pollinate the haworthioides but I couldn't find the stigma. Barbara Joe would have said that's why I should keep a hand lens on me at all times.

So there's a good chance that arborescens will be dominant. That's good to know. I'm kinda curious why I haven't seen any in SoCal that look like this one in the wild. I heard a theory that it's because most of the ones in cultivation are grown from cuttings. Maybe seed grown ones are more tree like?

I should have enough pollen left over to pollinate my ferox and thraskii which should start blooming any day now. If pods form...then maybe the haworthioides will be dominant. Last year I don't think I got a single pod on my ferox...but every year my thraskii spikes are jam packed with pods. Why is that?

My primary goal with Aloes is to develop a red tree. Maybe I'll cross cameronii with thraskii? Or cameronii with vaombe? I'd also like a large variegated tree. Hopefully my variegated Aloe arborescens will bloom this year. It bloomed last year but all I got was a single kinda variegated seedling. My hummingbird didn't do such a great job. If it blooms this year then I'll try and cross it with speciosa, africana, vaombe...and any other tree Aloe that happens to be blooming at the time.
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Old 12-18-2013, 03:51 AM
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With regard to the stigma on haworthioides. use sharp small scissors and carefully cut the anthers to expose the small stigma. this will do 2 things for you, one is allow you to apply pollen and clearly see where to put it and two it make the flower considerably less interesting to random pollinators.

As to the fuzziness...it hides in rock cracks on granite domes in Madagascar and nestles in to the moss where it fits and lives.
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Old 12-18-2013, 01:52 PM
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The Dry Garden had a plant labeled "Tree Aloe"..and it had reddish leaves. I hated to leave without it. I wonder what it really was?
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Old 12-18-2013, 03:55 PM
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Kelly Griffin, thanks for the tips, information and suggestions!

Stan, I just called and they have no recollection of a reddish tree Aloe! You're usually so good at taking pictures!

Some reddish ones...

Aloe decurva

Aloe 'Fire Ranch' (vaotsanda x divaricata)

And...

A variegated Aloe ferox
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Old 12-20-2013, 03:24 AM
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Your arborescens may also have selfed.

T
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Old 12-20-2013, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Harvey View Post
Your arborescens may also have selfed.

T
I didn't know that some Aloes could do this. Good to know...thanks.

It looks like it has three pods starting to protrude from the dried flowers.

Given that arborescens can self...and that it's dominant even when crossed...the chances seem pretty slim that any of the seedlings will be fluffy! But the proof is in the pudding!
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Old 12-22-2013, 03:15 PM
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There have been a lot of arborescens f1 hybrids reported that differ from regular arborescens. I have made a few. The Aloe cultivar registry in the journal Aloe has quite a few listed in issues from the 1970's. These hybrids were with larger aloes, not the little ones (maybe there was one longistyla).

I don't think arborescens 'selfs'. It may be self fertile or self compatible to a limited extent. I've never seen one that looks like it could self transfer pollen.

If you are certain of which flowers you put pollen on and they are the same as the ones with swollen ovaries then you may have set hybrid seed. Good luck
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Old 12-23-2013, 01:00 AM
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Selfs = self fertile, not necessarily the same flower, but the same individual. A breeze can do it.

T
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Old 12-23-2013, 01:30 PM
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Speaking of that..anybody ever had Aloes seed sprout in the yard? I once posted a photo of a tiny Aloe that I thought was from seed growing in my front yard between a few Aloe species. No proof at all it came from seed other then very small..and no sign of a cutting's stem near it.
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Old 12-23-2013, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Harvey View Post
Selfs = self fertile, not necessarily the same flower, but the same individual. A breeze can do it.

T
multiple choice question
a. selfs = self pollinates + self fertile
b. selfs = self pollinates
c. selfs = self fertile

I think a. is the correct answer

I don't think aloes self pollinate. Normally the receptive stigma and the dehiscent anther do not come in contact.

Some are self fertile to a very limited extent.

Orchids and legumes often self.
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Old 12-23-2013, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan View Post
Speaking of that..anybody ever had Aloes seed sprout in the yard? I once posted a photo of a tiny Aloe that I thought was from seed growing in my front yard between a few Aloe species. No proof at all it came from seed other then very small..and no sign of a cutting's stem near it.
So far Aloe thraskii is the only Aloe that's volunteered for me. It happened a couple years ago when we got nearly double the rain. There were perhaps half a dozen seedlings.

A few of my Aeoniums volunteered that year as well. I had a carpet of Aeonium Cyclops seedlings. Some were purple and some were green. Very few of them survived though.

Now the chances of volunteers are pretty slim because of my Mexican feather grass mistake. Well...I suppose it has really reduced the amount of time I need to spend weeding the front yard though. It's hard to complain about that!
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Old 12-23-2013, 11:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan View Post
Speaking of that..anybody ever had Aloes seed sprout in the yard? I once posted a photo of a tiny Aloe that I thought was from seed growing in my front yard between a few Aloe species. No proof at all it came from seed other then very small..and no sign of a cutting's stem near it.
Stan with us it has happened quite a lot especially where you have under plantings of sansavaria or even other aloe such as labwarana that hold quite alot of old flower and other organic material at the base of the leaf catching dew last year had almost a plant in each sansavaria 'funnel'. Also when we have ground covers around aloe some seem to protect the fallen seeds enough to let them germinate
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Old 12-24-2013, 01:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Coniff View Post
multiple choice question
a. selfs = self pollinates + self fertile
b. selfs = self pollinates
c. selfs = self fertile

I think a. is the correct answer

I don't think aloes self pollinate. Normally the receptive stigma and the dehiscent anther do not come in contact.

Some are self fertile to a very limited extent.

Orchids and legumes often self.
b & c are redundant - unless you think pollination and fertilization are different.

Contact is simply not necessary.


Selfing (in any of your definitions) refers to the same INDIVIDUAL not FLOWER. Selfing could also be said to occur between separate plants of the same clone.

Orchids, by the very nature of their pollinia, cannot self according to your definition.

T
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Old 12-24-2013, 01:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan View Post
Speaking of that..anybody ever had Aloes seed sprout in the yard? I once posted a photo of a tiny Aloe that I thought was from seed growing in my front yard between a few Aloe species. No proof at all it came from seed other then very small..and no sign of a cutting's stem near it.
I've had a few appear in the yard, usually in the shade of other plants. It usually happens when I have to water overhead when I have problems with my drip irrigation. I get lots of volunteers in better irrigated pots, however.

T
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Old 12-24-2013, 03:15 PM
Kevin Coniff Kevin Coniff is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Harvey View Post
b & c are redundant - unless you think pollination and fertilization are different.

Contact is simply not necessary.


Selfing (in any of your definitions) refers to the same INDIVIDUAL not FLOWER. Selfing could also be said to occur between separate plants of the same clone.

Orchids, by the very nature of their pollinia, cannot self according to your definition.

T
Pollination and fertilization are different. They are different processes. There can be pollination without fertilization. Do you think pollination and fertilization are the same?

Selfing in my definition refers to the same flower or flower head.

Why would orchids not meet my definition?
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Old 12-24-2013, 08:54 PM
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This is a rather semantic argument, though I agree pollination can occur without fertilization. Indeed it probably happens a lot of the time.

Given that, to mature, the stigma lengthens through the cluster of anthers, 'self pollination' in the rather limited definition preferred by Kevin would also seem to be equally likely. Pollen doesn't have to land on a receptive stigma, it can wait a while. I certainly wouldn't have any confidence in the assertion that Aloe arborescens never self pollinates, by any meaning of the words.

Of course, fertilization can also be manure-spreading.

T
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Old 12-24-2013, 10:17 PM
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Thanks for your reply my friend. We'll take this up again after the holidays. Take care. Merry Christmas.
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Old 12-25-2013, 03:29 AM
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Today when I was pollinating my Mexican Laelia orchid I noticed that its pollinia was gooey. On most orchids the pollen packets aren't gooey. The sticky substance was produced by the adjacent stigma...and somehow it flowed over to the pollen. This orchid, which is probably a hybrid, has quite frequently (always?) had seed pods on it. I've suspected that perhaps a hummingbird or bee had quickly pollinated it. The flowers are quite nice so I'm usually disappointed when they wilt away only after a couple days. This is the first year that I've tried to pollinate it...and now I know that it selfs!

The flowers had already been open for a day or two...and they were starting to look a bit wilty. It seems perhaps that its pollen might have successfully arrived at the destination. For the heck of it I removed the gooey pollen packets anyways and placed some Cattleya pollinia on one of the Laelia flower's stigma.

It's so strange that the stigma produces that much goo. It's also strange that the pollen tubes can go the additional distance.

This is kinda interesting...

Quote:
An ovule is successfully fertilized by only one pollen grain out of (potentially) many thousands. If fertilization is performed at a sufficiently low temperature, the growth of chilling-resistant genotypes of pollen will be favored over others. These will reach the ovule first so that their genes will appear in the resulting seed. At no other stage of development can selection be made on such large numbers of genotypes. - Chien Yi Wang, Chilling Injury of Horticultural Crops
So all things being equal...an Aloe or orchid that blooms during winter will produce individuals that are more cold tolerant. Therefore, winter bloomers will move North at a faster rate than summer bloomers?

For the heck of it I decided to visit the Huntington a couple days ago. Remind me not to visit on the Monday before Christmas...it was packed.

Coincidentally I saw this arborescens hybrid...


Aloe arborescens x Aloe erinacea by epiphyte78, on Flickr

It seems to be a pretty intermediate hybrid. Interestingly enough...erinacea is vaguely fluffy...but you don't really see it in the cross though. So it's not perfectly intermediate!

A few other Aloes that caught my eye...


Aloe cameronii var bondana by epiphyte78, on Flickr

Nice color!


Aloe mawii by epiphyte78, on Flickr

I had forgotten that this is on my want list. Check out this nice shot of Aloe mawii in its habitat. Really great color! It probably greens up during the wet season but it's still pretty nice.


Aloe Hellskloof Bells by epiphyte78, on Flickr

A cross between two winter growers. Given the vigor of Hercules...I'd definitely be interested in trying more summer/winter crosses.


Aloe labworana by epiphyte78, on Flickr

Perhaps not spectacular but I definitely found it appealing. Maybe it was the nice yellow flowers and the branched flower spike. Also it's an early bloomer. Unless it's a really late bloomer?


Aloe cryptopoda by epiphyte78, on Flickr

This caught my eye even though it was pretty far away.


Backlit Cactus by epiphyte78, on Flickr

Some cactus because I'm a sucker for back-lighting.

I remembered that I'd also like to select for some small tree Aloes. Something that would easily fit on a table and be a perfect host for a plethora of miniature epiphytes. The closest thing that I can think of are some of the smaller varieties of Aloe ramosissima. Are there any other species that form small trees?

My Aloe tenuior is about to bloom...maybe I'll try crossing it with some of my tree Aloes. Has that already been tried?

Uhhhh, let me review my Aloe agenda...
  • Red tree Aloes. Kinda like Aloe mawii but larger and red year around.
  • Variegated tree Aloes. Just like Aloe ferox 'Daley Mist'
  • Fuzzy tree Aloes. So fluffy they'll glow when backlit.
  • Miniature tree Aloes suitable for a slew of miniature epiphytes.

Which goal is the easiest? Anybody is more than welcome to tackle any of these projects!
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Old 12-26-2013, 01:42 PM
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I've selfed a few orchids - some, although they produce pods, do not produce viable seed. I've repeated this and flasked the results.


T
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Old 01-15-2014, 05:41 AM
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Ran across this photo of a miniature tree Aloe...Aloe ferox x Aloe plicitilis. It's pretty nice! I'm kinda surprised that I've never seen it before. I wonder if it grows faster than both parents like Hercules does.

Hopefully my plicitilis will bloom again this year so I can try and remake the cross. Or I could just buy the one in the picture. Having it shipped from Australia wouldn't be too expensive
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Old 02-01-2014, 11:17 PM
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A few days ago I harvested the last of three seed pods from the Aloe arborescens that I pollinated with pollen from Aloe haworthioides. I harvested them over the course of around four days just when they were starting to open. For the last two days I've had the seeds soaking in water inside my garage.

Perhaps 80% of the seeds seemed viable...but I sowed them all on the off chance that the smaller (less substantial) seeds were heavily influenced by the much much smaller pollen parent. Is that possible?

Today I sowed around 72 seeds in 12 "pots". The "pots" are 17oz plastic water bottles with their tops cut off and two drainage holes cut on opposite sides around an 1" from the bottom. This creates a semi-hydroponic pot. Water sits in the bottom and moisture is whicked upwards.

I already had a flat of medium filled pots leftover from when I sowed A. thraskii, A. vaombe and A. cameronii a couple months ago. The medium I used for those seeds was bark and perlite. For this batch of seeds I added around an inch of pumice on top of the bark and perlite. Then on top of the pumice I sprinkled just enough fine peat moss so that the surface of the medium was half pumice and half peat. I'm pretty sure that arborescens can handle quite a bit of moisture.

Before sowing the seeds I used a spray bottle to soak the medium.

My method of sowing was as follows. Poured the water and seeds into a strainer and used a tweezers and knife to place the seeds in 12 water bottle caps. Then I carried the water bottle caps outside on a tray over to the pots. The pots are on a seedling tray rack that receives morning and early afternoon sun. I placed one cap in the center of each pot and then used two tweezers to evenly place the seeds on the medium around the caps. After I sowed all the seeds in a cap...I removed the cap. Lastly I used a spray bottle to mist/water the seeds.

The weather forecast predicts some pretty cool temps...low 40s / high 30s at night and low 60s during the day. Not sure if that will be enough warmth to encourage germination. If any of the siblings are cooler growers than their siblings...then they should germinate first...which will give them a head start.

I'm not holding my breath that any of the seedlings will be fuzzy. Having thought about it some more I think last year the same Aloe might have also produced a few seed pods...and I had absolutely nothing to do with that. So it might just be a coincidence that 3 flowers were pollinated around the same time that I was trying to pollinate them.
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