I have a few questions that I have not found an answer to as of yet. I am using fluorescent lights, and soil medium with organics. I had one hermaphrodite in my last crop. What will happen when hermaphrodite pollen fertilizes a pure female? Will the resulting seeds would be mostly hermaphrodite? Also, I have a female of unknown strain about 4 weeks into flowering and a few of the white hairs are turning brown and red. Could this female have been pollinated or is this natural for some strains? If it was pollinated, will only those flowers with brown hairs produce seeds? I enjoy your column in Soft Secrets greatly! Shannon, Gloucestershire
Playing with hermaphrodite plants is a bit tricky and the results are most often unstable. You can use the pollen from hermaphrodites (more correctly called intersex plants) to fertilize all female plants. Seeds and successive offspring produced from this union will be mostly female, but these plants will have intersex tendencies. Intersex qualities are more pronounced as stress increases. When you select parents with intersex tendencies, some of the progeny will also have intersex tendencies. When these plants suffer stress – drought, irregular photoperiod, high/low temperatures, etc. – they tend to have more inter-sex tendencies. I do not like working with such plants because you will always be looking for male flowers on female plants and there will always be seeds in every crop.
Pistils do start to wilt upon pollination, but they could also start to die back as senescence (death) approaches. The pistils in some strains discolor and die back before others. You really cannot tell whether or not they are pollinated until you see a seed forming in within the calyx. Wait and see.