Earlier this week was an important day in the life of Caly because her caretaker hand-pollinated her flowers! While the best scenario would be to find other flowering Cyanea calycina individuals to collect pollen from to enhance genetic diversity, we could not locate any that were flowering at the same time as Caly. Therefore, the plan was to take some pollen from Caly's flowers in the male stage of development, and gently transfer the pollen to flowers that have progressed to the female stage of development. This can help increase the numbers of seeds in each fruit. The images below demonstrate the process:
First, pollen grains are collected from stamens when flowers are in the male stage of development.
A make-up brush is used to apply the pollen to the stigma of each flower that has progressed to the female stage of development.
Note the difference between flowers in the male and female reproductive stages of development below. In the male stage, the stamens have a beard-like appearance near the distal tip of the flower because of the pollen they produce. In the female stage, the stigma has elongated past the stamens, and is receptive to pollen.
Flowers that were pollinated were marked with a piece of pink string. This way, Caly's caretakers will know which fruits to collect to obtain viable seeds. In the future, these seeds can be planted in the wild, ensuring a future for Cyanea calycina.