Sexual Reproduction

In a Dionaea flower the pollen is usually mature before the pistil of the same flower is receptive to pollen. When the flower bud opens the anthers are smooth as is the stigma of the pistil. When the pollen is mature and ready for dissemination the anther appears rough and granular and is covered with yellow powder, the pollen. The end of the pistil, the stigma, divides into sections, usually five, when it is receptive to pollen. Transfer of mature pollen to a receptive pistil is necessary for subsequent fertilization and seed production. These plants can be self- or cross-pollinated.

The pollen may be transferred by removing a stamen with a pair of tweezers and rubbing the anther on the receptive stigma of the pistil or by using a small camel's hair brush that is rubbed on the pollen of an anther and then on a receptive stigma or by rubbing the anthers of one flower gently on the stigma of an adjacent flower on a nearby plant. Transfer the pollen 2 or 3 times, each on a different day to insure pollination. Seed matures in 4-6 weeks following pollination.

The black, shiny, pear-shaped seeds are encased within the remaining floral parts, the ovary and sepals, which turn jet black along with the scape as the seed matures. Seeds can be planted immediately or stored in sealed vials or bottles under refrigeration.

Viability decreases with increased storage time so that by the end of a year viability is usually less than 30%. To germinate seed, sprinkle it on a suitable medium, maintain high humidity and bright light. Sow the seed very thinly on the medium so that the seedlings will be able to grow a full season in the same container without being overcrowded or transplanted. This procedure results in larger plants and reduced incidence of fungus diseases which are very common in overcrowded seedlings. The seed can be covered by a thin layer of medium if desired, but this is not necessary. Germination is hastened by maintaining temperatures of 80-85°F (26.7-29.5°C).

When seedlings have at least four leaves they can be transplanted if they are crowded. Seedlings are spaced a minimum of 1 in. (2.5 cm) apart when transplanted.

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