beginner's question about mixed pollen

very basic question from somebody totally new to hybridising: does mixing pollen give each of the offspring a mix of the pollen parent’s traits, or does it give seeds in the same hip with different parentage?

thanks ahead for any insight

I would guess that it gives different seeds the possibility of different parentage, but would also love to hear from those that know more about this.

It should give each seed the potential for having different daddies. I doubt two dads would pollinate one mom.

They could try… some enchanted evening.

thanks for the input everyone, i’m thinking of trying an experiment with two control hips pollinated by two extremely different parents and then another with the mixed pollen of both, if they all take i’ll report back with the results

The only way I know of that can allow pollen from two pollen parents to affect the same seed is Hetero-fertilization. This is rare, and is more likely to occur with sequential pollination … pollinate by one parent, wait some hours, then add the other pollen. Even when this happens, the new seedling will not inherit genes from both Dads. One pollen parent fertilizes the ovum, which grows up to be the embryo. The other pollen parent fertilizes the central cell, which continues on to be the endosperm.

The endosperm plays a critical role in directing the development of the embryo by imprinting (regulating the expressions of genes). This may account for some weird “hybrids” that seem to resemble one of the pollen parents, but without any genes from that one.

There are other, very good reasons for using pollen mixtures. If the seed parent and pollen parent are a little too closely related, pollen from another source may increase the vigor of the first cross. Charles Darwin was the first to report on this phenomenon, crossing the Ragged Jack and Early Barnes cabbages, but there are more recent sources.

Some of the reported results of pollen mixtures don’t make sense to me, but I don’t reject ideas just because I don’t understand (yet?). For instance, John Cook, who created the HT ‘Radiance’, wrote: “I have several [rose] seedlings, where the pollen was taken from three and four different varieties mixed together, and they are the richest color in red of any I have ever raised.”

Here is a bibliography of everything you might want to know about pollen mixtures, and probably more.

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thanks for such a thorough write-up, karl

nothings ever as simple as you’d think it would be

In addition to the benefits of mixtures, it is also useful to pollinate repeatedly, even with mixtures.

Rose styles apparently do not all mature at the same time. Repeated pollination increases the number of seeds per hip, as well as the average seed size.

Here are some more bibliographies dealing with aspects of pollen and pollination.