Hi Everyone,

I am working on a project looking at Cephalotus follicularis pollen. I am going to be processing some samples through a process called 'acetolysis'. This removes any coating from the pollen to reveal the ornamentation and shape of it's outer layers.

To do this successfully I will need a reasonable sample of pollen. This year for some reason of my >20 plants only one has decided to flower. Some of them are immature but of the larger specimens, all kept in the same conditions, just one has flowered!

I am going to be collecting the flower for the pollen but could really do with some additional material if anyone can spare it. One flower off the whole flower head would be a help but whole clusters of flowers would be fantastic if anyone can spare it.

Here is a photo of my flowers this morning (I had asked another member if I could use a previous image but in the end I was able to take with an iPhone and hand held Raynox lenses).

When these first open their petals the anthers look for all the world like a pair of small, pink, round testes. This is appropriate enough! However after a few hours, possibly up to 24hrs these split open to release the pollen. The photo below shows this in more detail.

With a hand lens this is visible but even without one it is possible to see the bright yellow flash that appears in the flower.

If you are kind enough to donate any flowers, please could you check that the anthers have opened before cutting them.

If anyone can help, please send me a PM with your name and address and I will send you a kit as below:

In the envelope will be a stamped, addressed envelope for the return post and a small sample tube. Please put any flowers in the tube, screw the cap on firmly and then post the padded envelope back to me.

I would not be able to request help from anyone outside the EU due to phytosanitary regulations but within the EU would be OK. However for non-UK donors I couldn't send a pre-paid envelope in the kit but I would promise to repay your postage costs via PayPal etc.

Thanks for reading this,