Sunday, May 9, 2010
How tiny does tiny get??
It is a fairly well documented fact (R. S. Moore and others) that the miniaturism trait is a dominant one, and you need only one of the parents to be a miniature in order to obtain a good percentage of dwarf plants from a cross. Well, what happens if you cross miniature X miniature? Often, the offspring get smaller still! If you have ever done a cross like that, you will have no difficulty imagining how Pedro Dot came up with 'Si'.
Illustrated here is one of the first seedlings to bloom from a crop of 'Magic Wand' X self seeds. Out of about 80 seedlings I have grown, I would say that about 90% are dwarf, with about 25% of these being extremely dwarf. About eight or ten seedlings appear to be much larger in both leaf and growth habit than the parent variety, which is also to be expected with such crosses.
To give you an idea of scale (yes, I ought to have photographed it with a coin beside it) the pot shown here is 2.75" square. The plant is currently no more than 1.5" tall, and I would estimate that bud is no more than 1/8th of an inch tall (center of the plant, pale pink): the ultimate in cute. Click on the photo to get a much larger image.
I didn't grow this group of seedlings with the idea of actually keeping any of the offspring, I did it to show me the scope of what 'Magic Wand' would do as a parent. If it harbors extremely undesirable traits, they will show up in a selfing batch. Desirable traits as well, will manifest in the seedlings, and so this is a learning excercise more than anything. I often sow self-seedlings from a variety before I put it into actual use as a breeder, just to determine its fertility and other traits. Mind you, I am pretty certain that I will save a few of the best of these tiny things and keep them around as curiosities. ;-) I'll post photos of some of the others as they flower, assuming they are the least bit photogenic!