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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - March 27, 2009

From: mcdonald, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: General Botany
Title: Can plants in the same genus cross-pollinate?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Can you cross-pollinate plants from the same genus?

ANSWER:

Plants employ just about every pollination scheme imaginable and some that we're not sure anyone would have imagined.  The flowers of some species only self-pollinate, some may self-pollinate or will also accept pollen from other plants of the same species, some will not self-pollinate at all and must receive pollen from other plants of the species. 

Some species readily cross with other species within their genera, some cross occassionally, some cross very rarely, most seem to never cross with plants outside of its species, These crosses, if successful, are known as interspecific crosses and produce hybrids which may be fertile, but are more commonly infertile.  In more rare cases, some species even cross outside of their genera (intergeneric crosses) also producing hybrid offspring.

 

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