Heli pollen collection
Thought I'd tack on to this thread to give some suggestions for those who may have struggled to ease the pain and quicken the learning curve... for reference, the flower tested on was from an H. Puchelle.
I highly recommend checking out the following links first:
Harvesting heli pollen with a tuning fork
Harvested Heliamphora pollen
I've attempted many different ways of harvesting (using random things that vibrate such as small hair clippers to tweezers to simulate a tuning fork as well as ripping the stamens) but ultimately, the thing that has worked the best for me is just going with the tried and true tuning fork. If you are not going the destructive route and ripping the flower to shreds to get at the pollen, then I highly suggest you get a tuning fork and save yourself some frustration I will say that all the methods I did try did result in 'some' pollen being collected, but they were such miniscule amounts, that it was difficult to do much with it. Given the size of the pollen, a small amount is next to impossible to store.
Some other observations I have made are in regards to timing of just when to harvest. I still struggle with exact timing, but I start trying to obtain pollen the moment the stamens drop a bit and the color starts changing. At this time, the petals are generally fairly open as well. I help them on their way by folding them up. Do what you can to flip up the petals as it will make it much easier to get at the stamens with the tuning fork and see the pollen. I just try it until I feel it no longer has anything left. I do this daily as it seems the stamens ripen at different times and by trying each day, I was guaranteed to collect when freshest and get the most I could.
At first, frustrations were abound when I seemed to struggle to even get anything out of the stamens. I couldn't figure out why I seemed to be getting no pollen as the coloration had changed and the stamens had dropped as described in other threads I had seen. It didn't dawn on me for quite some time that it wasn't so much that the pollen wasn't being extracted, but rather that it just wasn't falling down to the collection tray (black cd case) I was holding right under it. Depending on the angle you are looking at it and the lighting, it can be difficult to see, but if you are lucky, you may just see all your efforts fly away in a poof to the left or right instead of down to the tray. What this taught me was to basically be more weary of the angle of the flower and the proximity of the tray. Angle the flower a bit so it faces more downward and hold the collection tray as close as you can (perhaps at a bit of an angle; you'll figure out what angle will work best with some trial and error) to maximize chances of collecting. If you have lifted up the petals, it'll make it easier to get closer to the stamens.
One 'AH HA!' moment I got (albeit a bit late in the trials) was to use the inside of the cd case instead of the back. This will depend on the type of cd case you have, but for me, the back was textured and 'rough', while the inside was smooth and glossy. This inside texture resulted in a bit of static cling, so to speak, which I realized helped to pull the floating pollen down towards it. Anything you can do to 'guide' the pollen towards your collection vessel is a good thing in my book.
Lastly, if you are harvesting from multiple flowers, do remember to clean off the tray well or use a different one to avoid unintentionally cross pollinating.
Anyway, hope this proves helpful.
When my tequila flowered I pulled off the stamen and ripped it in half which seemed to release a lot of pollen.
Nice post Z,
FWIW, I no longer use a CD case.
I now use a small square mirror for collection and a razor blade to herd the pollen into the microcentrifuge tubes...
(think back to early 80's night club scene, but notice no rolled up dollar bill lol)
My current collector of choice:
Another thing i do when the flower is hard to get to is to snip the flower when the anthers are still slightly green on one side.
Let the flower sit somewhere nice and dry for a day or so then harvest the pollen as normal.
I have gotten my largest harvestings this way.
Last edited by Av8tor1; 04-09-2012 at 07:45 AM.
Do you resort to cutting open the stamen now? Or are those seeds? Would imagine mirrors have a bit of that static cling to them as well. Will have to pick up a piece for next collection attempt.
Those are seed....
My collection methods havent changed except where noted in this thread.