• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

best comfrey question yet

 
john muckleroy jr
Posts: 40
Location: nacogdoches,texas
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If I plant the 3 varieties of comfrey together is there a danger of them crossing?
 
R Scott
Posts: 3306
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Only one propagates by seed. The two hybrids may pollinate the true, but the seeds won't be viable. What you will get is seed with a low germination rate but still true to type.
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1592
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
47
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There is a book 'breed your own vegetable varieties' that might be worth a look. Basically you probably can cross them and there is a reasonable chance that any cross might be 'interesting'. These techniques are used to bring traits from distantly related species into a desired crop.

Say you have a wild plant resistant to disease that you want to bring in to your domestic crop. Force a cross between them then repeatedly select and breed back those offspring to the crop plant. In a few generations you will have a new plant variety that has the genes for resistance and is similar to the domestic crop.

Is there a reason you might want to cross these comfrey plants?
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
286
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Is there a reason you might want to cross these comfrey plants?

The 2 Bocking varieties are already hybrid crossbreeds, (x uplandicum) and are sterile.
Of the 3, only the true comfrey can be propagated by seed.

Of the 21 known Bocking varieties, only two are commonly found (4 & 14) - they must have been the only two to have shown enough potential to continue with propagation programs.

 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1592
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
47
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks John,

I didn't know the specifics of comfrey crossing. I suspect that you could recross the hybrids back with the true comfrey (pollen from the cross) and perhaps end up with a viable seed?
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
88
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Michael Cox wrote: recross the hybrids back with the true comfrey (pollen from the cross) and perhaps end up with a viable seed?

We only have the sterile Bocking cultivars in NZ, and I've never, ever heard of them reproducing from seed.
But then I don't think I've ever met a plant as keen to grow from root cuttings
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1592
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
47
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Leica - I'm not suggesting you could harvest seed from the sterile plants, but that using a bocking to pollinate a true (fertile) comfrey would give seeds on the true comfrey that should contain genetics of both the bocking and true comfrey, and may be fertile.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
88
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Michael Cox wrote:I'm not suggesting you could harvest seed from the sterile plants, but that using a bocking to pollinate a true (fertile) comfrey
sorry Michael, I didn't read/understand your post properly
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1592
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
47
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I quite understand - I remember reading that passage of the book half a dozen times before I got my head around it. Short version - you can get the genetics out of 'sterile' plants by repeatedly crossing them with fertile relatives. It opens up options when considering plant breeding for new varieties. Your first generation cross is likely to be sterile, especially if using distant relatives, but over a number of years you can often breed back to a fertile cross with the genetics of both.

In the case of the bocking varieties - one of their most useful traits is their sterility, so they don't run rampant.
 
It is an experimental device that will make my mind that most powerful force on earth! More powerful than this tiny ad!
2017 Permaculture Design Course and Appropriate Technology Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!