Some Notes on Hybridizing Lilies
by David Sims
I have used three different strains of L pumilum. I initially didn't keep track of what strain I was using, unfortunately. I also used different clones of L martagon album. With the latest crosses, I am keeping track of both parents.
The liquid endosperm occurs in wide interspecific Lilium crosses, and I believe it guarantees the death or non germination of the embryo if the seed is left to ripen. When dissecting the seed, the embryo is found in a viscous liquid. With the martagon-Asiatic crosses, I excised the embryos at ~50 days after pollination. With an intraspecific cross, the embryo is rather hard at this point.
The endosperm in Lilium is pentaploid (four from the maternal parent, one from the paternal parent), as compared to the triploid endosperm of most plants. I am interested in culturing the endosperm to produce callus and eventually plants. I don't know if a pentaploid lily would be desirable, but it is worth a try.
There is quite a bit of differing information about self incompatibility and apomixis in lilies. The conclusion that I have drawn is that apomixis occurs infrequently, and lilies are generally self incompatible, but not always.
The information about the purple martagons occurring in the martagon album x hansonii seedlings is interesting. I am seeing quite a bit of purple in the martagon album-asiatic hybrids. Perhaps the the variety album carries a gene for purple color, and an inhibitor as well.
The martagon album x pumilum hybrids are approximately 40" tall. It is too early to tell if they will be longer lived than L pumilum, but that is one of my goals. The martagons are quite virus tolerant and long lived in the garden; some clones are over 60 years old. I also have a hybrid between L martagon x L concolor.
Concerning fertility, most of the clones tested have some viable pollen.
The martagon x concolor produces more viable pollen than the other
crosses, and I have L martagon x (L martagon x L concolor) growing in
Rec'd Mar 16, 2003