These are plants that have grown in a planter box for a couple years. Here in Lower Alabama Gerbera Daisies are perennial. There is something about Gerbera Daisies (Gerbera jamesonii) that draws one to them….the pure colors, many times pastel, and the clean look of the flower. I have always wanted to save seed and grow out a few to see what would result. These plants are typically very heterozygous and therefore have been a challenge to breeders to get pure seed strains. Typically they are selected for cultivars and propogated asexually.
Over the years I have diligently collected mature flower heads and looked for seed, but all I have found is fluff. The fertile seeds are supposed to be larger and plumper making them easy to identify. I have since learned that these plants are self sterile, meaning that the pollen they generate will not fertilize their own stigmas. They must have pollen from an unrelated plant. Last night I set out to discover how to do this.
I needed to understand the flower structure….where the pollen is and where the stigmas are. I discovered a great site that shows close-up pictures of Gerbera Daisies and their flower parts. Not only are the flowers beautiful, but the information is very helpful. This morning I started cross pollinating the two Gerbera Daisies that I have blooming. I used a small camel hair brush to gather the pollen and was quite startled when I noticed that as soon as I took pollen from a fresh anther, it immediately delivered more. At first I thought the movement was some critter, but on closer observation I saw what was really happening! Pretty cool!
I’ll watch these flowers and see if I get seed developing.