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Mutated flowers propagated from seed

Mutated (full and half-filled) flowers from seed

A mutation is an "error" in the genom, which makes the flower looks different from the normal. It is especially plena and semiplena flower that are attractive.

Flowers usually have a number of stamens and pistils, which means that the plant can be pollinated and propagated by seeds, thus ensuring the species' survival. A mutation often gives more or less sterile flowers.

In the following I will tell you how you by cross-pollination can produce mutated plans from seed. You can choose which plant species you prefer, the condition is simply that you can obtain a mutated basic material.

Hepatica is well suited for the purpose. It is variable, comes very quickly in bloom after sowing (3-4 years), has a good size and can be grown in pots on the table in the greenhouse, which is preferable when pollinating, watching the seeds and so on.

I have especially concentrated on H.japonica and H.nobilis, as well as crossings between these two, but other species can of course also be included. However, one must be prepared for the result of crosses between different species maybe will become sterile.


Let me start by saying a little about the pollination itself - we begin with the single flowering:
When the flower opens, the pistils are ready for pollination, and it is a good idea to pollinate as early as possible. The younger pistils the better fertilization ability. The pistils can become too old. How long to go is a bit difficult to say, because it depends on the temperature - the cooler weather, the longer durability.
The stamens are divided into two chambers which open and let out the pollen independently of each other. It happens when the weather is warm and sunny. Often you can see with the naked eye when the stamens are open, but if you use a magnifying glass it is easy to follow the development. They get a "woolly" look when the pollen is out and often sprinkles the pollen down on the petals.
If you want to pollinate with pollen from another flower, all stamens must be removed from the "mother" as soon as the flower pops out, otherwise you risk a self-pollination.
Remove some stamens from the "father" using a tweezers and gently drive them over the pistils on the "mother" and thus a pollination has taken place.
After fertilization, the pistils closes and becomes dark.

Muterede blomsteer fig. 1
Figure 1. The seeds begin to develop, which lasts approx. 6-8 weeks depending on the temperature, the colder the longer the maturation time.

Mutation fig. 2
Fig 2. To "catch" the seeds, I have sewn small bags of thin water-permeable fabric that I put on the stem.


mentioned before, errors in the genome can occur and the flower can change appearance. There are several different forms of mutated flowers that cause the flower to become more or less infertile (sterile).
To create an overview of the types of flowers that exist and which we can use in the breeding work, I will review the HIS’s (International Hepatica Society) division into types. Hepatica has here been divided into 9 types, depending on the appearance of the flowers. Hepatica breeding is very Japanese dominated and it is IHS also, so the nine types are found among Hepatica japonica. Some of the types are also found among the European Hepatica nobilis, so the division can also be used for H. nobilis. It is a good idea to use this HIS dividing, then you always know exactly what type of flower is involved. See also the article "Division into types", where the 9 types are described in more detail.
As said, IHS has found 9 different types of flowers at Hepatica japonica. I have allowed myself to add another 2 types, that as well as I know, are only found in Hepatica nobilis (see 10 and 11).

1. Has both pistils and stamens - the number of petals is irrelevant. Available in japonica and nobilis
Mutation fig. 3
Hepatica nobilis ’Bavarian Blue’ - type 1

2. Otome-zaki (zaki means flower and is just added to tell it is the flower's appearance it's all about). Otome means virgin and this type has fully-developed pistils but lacks stamens. The type is known both by japonica and nobilis - in Europw called "virgin".

Mutation fig. 4
Hepatica japonica ’Murasakiotome’ - type 2

Nichirin zaki. Nichirin means a ring around the sun. The stamens are transformed into a ring of short flat-lying petals. The pistils are fully developed. Available only at japonica.

Mutation fig. 5
Hepatica japonica ’Tori no Saezuri’ – type 3

2. Nidan-Zaki. Nidan = 2, in the meaning 2-layer flower. Almost like type 3, but the transformed stamens are longer. The pistils are fully developed. Available only at japonica.
Mutation fig. 6
Hepatica japonica ’Haato no Kingu’ – type 4

5. Chyouji-Zaki. Means garlic. Just like the previous one, but the stamens have by this type turned into curly petals. The pistils are fully developed. Available only at japonica.
Mutation fig. 7 Heparica japonica – type 5

6. Karako-zaki is named after an old Chinese hairstyle. It is available both with and without pistils. The stamens are converted into petals. Available only at japonica.
Mutation fig. 8
Hepatica japonica ’Momohananbi’ – type 6

7. Sandan-Zaki. San means 3 - a 3-layer flower. Both stamens and pistils are basically converted to petals, but often this type produce stamens containing pollen and can thus be used in the crossing work. However, it can be difficult to get hold of the pollen because the stamens do not open by themselves and let out the pollen as in type 1. You can help it a little on the way by, with a scalpel, cutting a scratch on both sides of the stamen. Put the plant warm and then the pollen will emerge. It is a somewhat difficult process because the filaments are thin and easily breaks, so you can instead pick up the stamens and crush them and "lubricate" the whole mass on the pistils on the selected "mother". The type is found both in japonica and nobilis.
Mutation fig. 9
Hepatica japonica - Sandan-zaki type withput stamens – type 7
Mutation fig. 10
Hepatica nobilis ’Andersen’s Dream’ - Sandan-zaki type with anthers and pollen – type 7

8. Senne-zaki or also called Senju-zaki is the type we know as flora plena. Both pistils and stamens are converted into petals. It is found both in japonica and nobilis.
Mutation fig. 11
Hepatica japonica ’Kaow’ – type 8

9. Yousei-Zaki. Yousei means alpha or fairy. It is the newest type and has features from several of the previous ones. Both pistils ans stamens are converted into petals. Available only at japonica.
Mutation fig. 12
Hepatica japonica – type 9

10 is a type of flower found only by H. nobilis. The pistils are converted into petals, but the stamens are intact and contain pollen.
Mutation fig. 13
Hepatica nobilis ’Gaia’ GP – type 10

11 is also a type found only by H.nobilis. The pistils are converted into petals, but sometimes there may be some intact pistils. The stamens which are containing pollen are intact.
Mutation fig. 14
Hepatica nobilis "Ida" - type 11.
Here you see how some of the flowers are plena, while others have both pistils and stamens. The white labels are my crossing information.


The pollination itself can be done in slightly different ways. You can take pollen from type 1 and pollinate type 2, 3 or 4. Or you can take pollen from type 5, 10 or 11 (see procedure described under type 5) and pollinate type 1.
The seeds and plants you get from the mentioned pollination are called F1 which means first generation.
According to Mendel's law of heredity, the single-flowering gene is dominant, while the mutant is recessive. Because our F1 plants have inherited both a mutated and a single-flowered gene from the parents, the F1 plants will bloom with single flowers.
We now have plants that have both pistils and stamens, but at the same time contain a mutated gene.
These plants we can self-pollinate or cross with each other. The result is F2 - 2nd generation of seeds and plants, and it is in this 2nd generation that the mutated flowers will occur.

It is said that 10% will bloom with mutated flowers, but my own experience shows that it can vary a lot. In some H. nobilis I have got 50% mutated flowers, while other F1 plants have not given any at all.
At H.japonica I have got up to 90% mutated flowers in a seed team. However, I think it is because the H. japonica I have used for pollination has been crossed for several generations back in Japan before they left with me.

At Hepatica nobilis one can more easily start from the zero point, and it gives a very great satisfaction to get a good result from a material that you yourself have produced from scratch. Of course, this gives a bigger waste because one has to try it out, but gradually one finds the "good" F1 plants.

Always remember to make records of each plant so you know it for generations. Gradually, one also figure out which mutated plants have "good" genes and which are less good.
I can only urge to start cross-pollinating and breeding mutated flowers from seeds. It is the most exciting and interesting thing I have worked on in my years with plants.
I would like to show some of the results I have achieved, both within Hjaponica and H. nobilis.

At first H.japonica:

Hepatica japonica 'Ryokkou' GP Hepatica japonica 'Aoitsuki' GP 188 Hepatica japonica 'Masa' GP Hepatica japonica 'Tori no Saezuri' GP 181 Hepatica japonica 'Kaow' GP
Hepatica japonica 'Koku-tenshi' GP Hepatica japonica 'Momo Agawa' GP Hepatica japonica 'Harakumon' GP Hepatica japonica 'Omiode' GP Hepatica japonica 'Bunko' GP
Hepatica japonica 'Chiharu' GP Hepatica japonica 'Fubuki' GP Hepatica japonica 'Choowa' GP Hepatica japonica 'Janome' GP Hepatica japonica 'Kurai yoru' GP

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Hepatica nobilis 'Aida' GP Hepatica nobilis 'Athene' GP Hepatica nobilis 'Jan' GP Hepatica nobilis 'Isolde' GP Hepatica nobilis 'Cassiopaia' GP
Hepatica nobilis 'Alma' GP Hepatica nobilis 'Fomalhaut' GP Hepatica nobilis 'Pollux' GP Hepatica nobilis 'Elvira' GP Hepatica nobilis 'Laerke' GP 138N 
Hepatica nobilis 'Carmen' GP Hepatica nobilis 'Electra' GP Hepatica nobilis GP 113N Hepatica nobilis 'Merope' GP Hepatica nobilis 'Dania' GP

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X EURASIA (japonica x nobilis):
I have also tried to cross japonica and nobilis. My idea was to produce plants that were as variable as japonica and as hardy as frost as nobilis.

Most crosses between japonica and nobilis are fertile, but there are some who are sterile.

Hepatica x eurasia 'Joy' GP Hepatica x eurasia 'Lucy' GP Hepatica x eurasia 'Wonder' GP Hepatica x eurasia 'First Try' GP Hepatica x eurasia 'Red Eyes' GP
Hepatica x eurasia 'Blue Ocean' GP Hepatica x euracia 'Blue Velvet' GP Hepatica x eurasia 'Pink Glow' GP Hepatica x eurasia 'Purple Beauty' GP Hepatica x eurasia 'Cobalt Blue' GP
Hepatica x eurasia 'Bright Touch' GP Hepatica x eurasia 'Cherry Blossom' GP Hepatica x eurasia 'Dream Girl' GP Hepatica x eurasia 'Green Wonder' GP Hepatica x eurasia 'Snowqueen' GP

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