Hand pollination, also known as mechanical pollination is a technique that can be used to pollinate plants when natural or open pollination is either undesirable or insufficient. This method of pollination is done by manually transferring pollen from the stamen of one plant to the pistil of another. This is often done with a cotton swab or small brush, but can also be done by removing the petals from a male flower and brushing it against the stigmas of female flowers, or by simply shaking flowers in the case of bisexual flowers, such as tomatoes. Common reasons for choosing this method include the lack of pollinators, keeping control of cross-pollination between varieties grown together,[1] and creating specific hybrids.[2] Examples of this are vanilla plants, which are transported to areas where its natural pollinator doesn't exist, or plants grown in greenhouses, urban areas, or with a cover to control pests, where natural pollinators cannot reach them. Pollinator decline and the concentrated pollination needs of monoculture can also be a factor. However, these are not the only reasons, and variable techniques for hand-pollination have arisen for many specialty crops. For instance, hand-pollination is used with date palms to avoid wasting space and energy growing sufficient male plants for adequate natural pollination. Because of the level of labor involved, hand-pollination is only an option on a small scale, used chiefly by small market gardeners and owners of individual plants. On large-scale operations, such as field crops, orchards, or commercial seed production, honeybees or other pollinators are a more efficient approach to pollination management. Despite this, hand-pollination is a fairly widespread practice. Pears grown in Hanyuan County, China have been hand-pollinated since the 1980s, because they can't be pollinated with other varieties that have different flowering times; also, lice infestation requires the use of many insecticide sprays, which causes local beekeepers to refuse to lend beehives.

Cucurbita hand pollination page 78 of "Luther Burbank, his methods and discoveries..." (1914)
Hand-pollination of two gourd blossoms

See also


  1. ^ McLaughlin, Chris (2010). "5. Pure Pollination". The Complete Idiot's Guide to Heirloom Vegetables. Penguin. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-61564-052-2. Retrieved July 5, 2011.
  2. ^ Rai, Nagendra; Rai, Mathura (2006). Heterosis breeding in vegetable crops. New India Publishing. ISBN 978-81-89422-03-5. Retrieved July 5, 2011.

External links

Actinidia deliciosa

Actinidia deliciosa, the fuzzy kiwifruit, is a fruiting vine native to southern China, the fruit of which has been declared the national fruit of that country. Other species of Actinidia are also found in China and range east to Japan and north into southern areas of Russian Far East. This species grows naturally at altitudes between 600 and 2,000 m.


The atemoya, Annona × cherimoya, or Annona squamosa × Annona cherimola is a hybrid of two fruits – the sugar-apple (Annona squamosa) and the cherimoya (Annona cherimola) – which are both native to the American tropics. This fruit is popular in Taiwan, where it is known as the "pineapple sugar apple" (鳳梨釋迦), so is sometimes wrongly believed to be a cross between the sugar-apple and the pineapple. In Cuba it is known as anón, and in Venezuela chirimorinon. In Israel and Lebanon, the fruit is called achta. In Tanzania it is called stafeli dogo ("mini soursop"). In Brazil, the atemoya, became popular, and in 2011, around 1,200 hectares of atemoia were cultivated in Brazil.An atemoya is normally heart-shaped or rounded, with pale-green, easily bruised, bumpy skin. Near the stem, the skin is bumpy as it is in the sugar-apple, but become smoother like the cherimoya on the bottom. The flesh is not segmented like that of the sugar-apple, bearing more similarity to that of the cherimoya. It is very juicy and smooth, tasting slightly sweet and a little tart, reminiscent of a piña colada. The taste also resembles vanilla from its sugar-apple parent. Many inedible, toxic, black seeds are found throughout the flesh of the atemoya. When ripe, the fruit can be scooped out of the shell and eaten chilled.

Atemoya (Annona cherimola × squamosa) was developed by crossing cherimoya (A. cherimola) with sugar-apple (A. squamosa). Natural hybrids have been found in Venezuela and chance hybrids were noted in adjacent sugar apple and cherimoya groves in Israel during the 1930s and 1940s.The first cross was made in 1908 by P.J. Wester, a horticulturist at the USDA's Subtropical Laboratory in Miami. The resulting fruits were of superior quality to the sugar-apple and were given the name "atemoya", a combination of ate, an old Mexican name for sugar-apple, and "moya" from cherimoya. Subsequently, in 1917, Edward Simmons at Miami's Plant Introduction Station successfully grew hybrids that survived a drop in temperature to 26.5 °F (−3.1 °C), showing atemoya's hardiness derived from one of its parents, the cherimoya.

The atemoya, like other Annona trees, bears protogynous, hermaphroditic flowers, and self-pollination is rare. Therefore, artificial, hand pollination almost always guarantees superior quality fruits. One variety, 'Geffner', produces well without hand pollination. 'Bradley' also produces fair crops without hand pollination, but the fruit has a habit of splitting on the tree. Atemoyas are sometimes misshapen, underdeveloped on one side, as the result of inadequate pollination.

An atemoya flower, in its female stage, opens between 2:00 and 4:00 pm; between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm on the following afternoon, the flower converts to its male stage.


Broccoflower refers to either of two edible plants of the species Brassica oleracea with light green heads. The edible portion is the immature flower head (inflorescence) of the plant.

Broccoli and cauliflower are different cultivars of the same species, and as such are fully cross compatible by hand pollination or natural pollinators. There are two forms of Brassica oleracea that may be referred to as broccoflower, both of which are considered cultivars of cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis) because they have inflorescent meristems rather than flower buds when harvested. One is shaped like regular cauliflower, the other has pointed, conical, spiraling clusters of florets. They share a curd color that is a similar hue to that of broccoli.

Cardamine californica

Cardamine californica (Milkmaids) (also Dentaria californica) is a flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae, native to western North America from Washington to California and Baja California. It is common in a variety of habitats including shady slopes, open woodlands, chaparral and grasslands in the winter and early spring. In the San Francisco Bay Area, it is one of the first wildflowers to bloom, with blossoms from January to May.

Commidendrum rotundifolium

The bastard gumwood (Commidendrum rotundifolium) is a species of tree endemic to the island of Saint Helena. It was thought to be extinct, but one last tree was discovered in Horse Pasture in 1982. This tree, long believed to be the last, was destroyed in 1986 by a gale. However seedlings were grown from this tree before it perished. The last of these to survive in cultivation was damaged by gales in 2008 and the survival of the species was in doubt.

In December 2009, Lourens Malan, a horticulturist working for the island's conservation department under the Critical Species Recovery Project, discovered a wild tree growing on a cliff. A local team of botanists, conservationists and volunteers commenced an intensive programme of hand pollination and seed collection of the remaining cultivated tree, while protecting it from insects that may cross-pollinate with nearby false gumwoods. Successful fertilisation will occur only if any grains of pollen happen to have mutations that will suppress the tree's mechanisms for preventing self-pollination.

With funding from DEFRA an intensive propagation and nursery programme has demonstrated that a low percentage (0.2%) of viable seed can be generated by this method, and as of October 2010, 250 seedlings have been grown for the recovery of the species.The gumwood tree is most closely related to sunflowers and evidently evolved from sunflowers that somehow drifted across the Atlantic to St. Helena and filled the tree niche. No other tree species is found in St. Helena, therefore sunflowers took the opportunity to fill in that niche.

Cotton Candy grapes

Cotton Candy grapes are a variety of grapes produced in California by Grapery, which became available for consumers to buy in 2011.

F1 hybrid

An F1 Hybrid (also known as filial 1 hybrid) is the first filial generation of offspring of distinctly different parental types. F1 hybrids are used in genetics, and in selective breeding, where it may appear as F1 crossbreed.

The term is sometimes written with a subscript, as F1 hybrid.

Subsequent generations are called F2, F3, etc.

The offspring of distinctly different parental types produce a new, uniform phenotype with a combination of characteristics from the parents. In fish breeding, those parents frequently are two closely related fish species, while in plant and animal breeding the parents often are two inbred lines.

Gregor Mendel focused on patterns of inheritance and the genetic basis for variation. In his cross-pollination experiments involving two true-breeding, or homozygous, parents, Mendel found that the resulting F1 generation were heterozygous and consistent. The offspring showed a combination of the phenotypes from each parent that were genetically dominant. Mendel’s discoveries involving the F1 and F2 generations laid the foundation for modern genetics.

Fruit tree pollination

Pollination of fruit trees is required to produce seeds with surrounding fruit. It is the process of moving pollen from the anther to the stigma, either in the same flower or in another flower. Some tree species, including many fruit trees, do not produce fruit from self-pollination, so pollinizer trees are planted in orchards.

The pollination process requires a carrier for the pollen, which can be animal, wind, or human intervention (by hand-pollination or by using a pollen sprayer). Cross pollination produces seeds with a different genetic makeup from the parent plants; such seeds may be created deliberately as part of a selective breeding program for fruit trees with desired attributes. Trees that are cross-pollinated or pollinated via an insect pollinator produce more fruit than trees with flowers that just self-pollinate. In fruit trees, bees are an essential part of the pollination process for the formation of fruit.Pollination of fruit trees around the world has been highly studied for hundreds of years. There is a lot of information known about fruit tree pollination from temperate climates, but much less is known about fruit tree pollination from tropical climates. Fruits from temperate climates include apples, pears, plums, peaches, cherries, berries, grapes, and nuts which are considered dry fruits. Fruits from tropical climates include bananas, pineapples, papayas, passion fruit, avocado, mango, and members of the genus Citrus.


Gấc (botanical name: Momordica cochinchinensis) is a type of perennial melon grown throughout Southeast Asian countries and Northeastern Australia. Gấc is notable for its orange-reddish color resulting from its rich content of beta-carotene and lycopene.

Japanese beetle

The Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica) is a species of scarab beetle. The adult measures 15 mm (0.6 in) in length and 10 mm (0.4 in) in width, has iridescent copper-colored elytra and a green thorax and head. It is not very destructive in Japan, where it is controlled by natural predators, but in North America, it is a noted pest of about 300 species of plants including rose bushes, grapes, hops, canna, crape myrtles, birch trees, linden trees, and others.The adult beetles damage plants by skeletonizing the foliage, that is, consuming only the leaf material between the veins, and may also feed on fruit on the plants if present, while the subterranean larvae feed on the roots of grasses.

Pollination management

Pollination management is the label for horticultural practices that accomplish or enhance pollination of a crop, to improve yield or quality, by understanding of the particular crop's pollination needs, and by knowledgeable management of pollenizers, pollinators, and pollination conditions.

While people think first of the European honey bee when pollination comes up, in fact there are many different means of pollination management that are used, both other insects and other mechanisms. There are other insects commercially available that are more efficient, like the blue orchard bee for fruit and nut trees, local bumblebees better specialized for some other crops, hand pollination that is essential for production of hybrid seeds and some greenhouse situations, and even pollination machines.


Protea is both the botanical name and the English common name of a genus of South African flowering plants, sometimes also called sugarbushes (Afrikaans: suikerbos) or fynbos. In local tradition, the protea flower represents change and hope.

Rahman Syed

Datuk Rahman Anwar Syed (14 December 1932 – 20 June 2009) was a Pakistani entomologist, professor, actor, and entrepreneur, best known for his discovery of the biological method of oil palm pollination.


The rambutan (, taxonomic name: Nephelium lappaceum) is a medium-sized tropical tree in the family Sapindaceae. The name also refers to the edible fruit produced by this tree. The rambutan is native to the Indonesian region, and other regions of tropical Southeast Asia. It is closely related to several other edible tropical fruits including the lychee, longan, and mamoncillo.


Strelitzia is a genus of five species of perennial plants, native to South Africa. It belongs to the plant family Strelitziaceae. The genus is named after the duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, birthplace of Queen Charlotte of the United Kingdom. A common name of the genus is bird of paradise flower / plant, because of a resemblance of its flowers to birds-of-paradise. In South Africa it is commonly known as a crane flower and is featured on the reverse of the 50 cent coin. It is the floral emblem of the City of Los Angeles; two of the species, Strelitzia nicolai and Strelitzia reginae, are frequently grown as house plants.

Tecophilaea cyanocrocus

Tecophilaea cyanocrocus, the Chilean blue crocus, is a flowering perennial plant that is native to Chile, growing at 2,000 to 3,000 m (6,600 to 9,800 ft) elevation on dry, stony slopes in the Andes mountains. Although it had survived in cultivation due to its use as a greenhouse and landscape plant, it was believed to be extinct in the wild due to overcollecting, overgrazing, and general destruction of habitat, until it was rediscovered in 2001.


Vanilla is a flavoring derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla, primarily from the Mexican species, flat-leaved vanilla (V. planifolia). The word vanilla, derived from vainilla, the diminutive of the Spanish word vaina (vaina itself meaning a sheath or a pod), is translated simply as "little pod". Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican people cultivated the vine of the vanilla orchid, called tlīlxochitl by the Aztecs. Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés is credited with introducing both vanilla and chocolate to Europe in the 1520s.Pollination is required to get the vanilla fruit from which the flavoring is derived. In 1837, Belgian botanist Charles François Antoine Morren discovered this fact and pioneered a method of artificially pollinating the plant. The method proved financially unworkable and was not deployed commercially. In 1841, Edmond Albius, a slave who lived on the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, discovered at the age of 12 that the plant could be hand-pollinated. Hand-pollination allowed global cultivation of the plant.

Three major species of vanilla currently are grown globally, all of which derive from a species originally found in Mesoamerica, including parts of modern-day Mexico. They are V. planifolia (syn. V. fragrans), grown on Madagascar, Réunion, and other tropical areas along the Indian Ocean; V. tahitensis, grown in the South Pacific; and V. pompona, found in the West Indies, Central America, and South America. The majority of the world's vanilla is the V. planifolia species, more commonly known as Bourbon vanilla (after the former name of Réunion, Île Bourbon) or Madagascar vanilla, which is produced in Madagascar and neighboring islands in the southwestern Indian Ocean, and in Indonesia. Combined, Madagascar and Indonesia produce two-thirds of the world's supply of vanilla.

Vanilla is the second-most expensive spice after saffron because growing the vanilla seed pods is labor-intensive. Despite the expense, vanilla is highly valued for its flavor. As a result, vanilla is widely used in both commercial and domestic baking, perfume manufacture, and aromatherapy.

Vanilla (genus)

Vanilla, the vanilla orchids, forms a flowering plant genus of about 110 species in the orchid family (Orchidaceae). The most widely known member is the flat-leaved vanilla (V. planifolia), native to Mexico, from which commercial vanilla flavoring is derived. It is the only orchid widely used for industrial purposes in flavoring such products as foods, beverages and cosmetics, and is recognized as the most popular aroma and flavor. The key constituent imparting its popular characteristics is the phenolic aldehyde, vanillin.This evergreen genus occurs worldwide in tropical and subtropical regions, from tropical America to tropical Asia, New Guinea and West Africa. Five species are known from the contiguous United States, all limited to southern Florida.The genus was established in 1754 by Plumier, based on J. Miller. The word vanilla, derived from the diminutive of the Spanish word vaina (vaina itself meaning sheath or pod), simply translates as little pod.


The zucchini (, American English) or courgette (, British English) is a summer squash, of Mesoamerican origin, which can reach nearly 1 metre (100 cm; 39 in) in length, but is usually harvested when still immature at about 15 to 25 cm (6 to 10 in). A zucchini is a thin-skinned cultivar of what in Britain and Ireland is referred to as a marrow. In South Africa, a zucchini is known as a baby marrow.

Along with certain other squashes and pumpkins, the zucchini belongs to the species Cucurbita pepo. It can be dark or light green. A related hybrid, the golden zucchini, is a deep yellow or orange color.In a culinary context, the zucchini is treated as a vegetable; it is usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment. Botanically, zucchinis are fruits, a type of botanical berry called a "pepo", being the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower.

The zucchini, like all squash, originates in the Americas, specifically Mesoamerica. Zucchini itself was developed in northern Italy in the second half of the 19th century, long after the introduction of cucurbits from the Americas in the early 16th century.


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