Rob ... dear, dear, dear. Using ants as pollinators... how do you stop cross pollination??
[img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img] Yes, Hamish, it is a little lazy, I must admit. I only do it with relatively common species where we require only a single seed capsule for tissue culture purposed. For example, we matched up 2 N. ventricosa last week. There are nearly 200 N. ventricosa flowers at the moment in highland nursery No. 5 and I don't want a bucket load of seed, so just picked 2 likely candidates.
Preventing cross pollination is easy. Boys are kept in one nursery, (insect poroofed) girls are in another nursery hundreds of meters away and the lovers are put into a nursery by themselves if I'm going to let ants do the job.
Actually, to tell the truth I rarely use the ant technique but it does work. Last time they effectively pollinated pretty much the whole spike. Usually if it's an important cross I do it as painstakingly as everyone else and then put a stocking over it.