Oca: How to hand pollinate oca

Several people have asked how I do hand pollinations with oca (Oxalis tuberosa).  It is hard to show in pictures, so we did a brief video demonstration.

The video will make more sense if you read these posts first:
Maximizing seed yield of crosses
Seeds from cuttings

A few points to clarify:

* All mentions of male and female flowers refer simply to the one that I have designated at the female (receiving the pollen) or the male (donating the pollen).  Oca does not have different male and female flowers.

* I do most crosses on cuttings indoors now due to a higher success rate, but you can use the same technique on the plant.

* You can use a brush to transfer the pollen instead of direct contact between the flowers, in which case you don’t have to denude the flowers if you have a very small brush and good coordination.  You can also keep both the designated male and female flowers this way, instead of discarding the male.  If you only have a few flowers, that might be advantageous.  If you have hundreds of flowers to work with, this method is more efficient.

* If you are very careful, you can get two pollinations from each whorl of stamens on the flower.  For example, with one short-styled flower, you could pollinate two mid-styled and two long-styled.  I’ve done up to six pollinations from a single whorl of stamens, but the number of pods and the number of seeds per pod drops considerably after the second pollination.

* There are unopened flower buds on this cutting.  As they open, you can pollinate them as well.  There doesn’t seem to be any problem with having five or six pods maturing on a single cutting.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply