new video
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Tomato blooms - multiple pistils with fused styles  RSS feed

 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Posts: 717
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
69
books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur hunting solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Two of my sixty-some tomato plants have strange characteristics. They both have an unusual number of blooms and nearly all the flowers are deformed, with two and sometimes three styles fused as one, resulting in misshapen fruit. On many, the fruit is being trapped inside by the dried anther cone.  I think I will continue to observe them, but they've been booted from the gene pool for next year.

For those readers who are more familiar than I with the anatomy of a flower bloom, I hope I got all the right parts named in all the right places. (Thanks to Thomas J. Elpel, I'm still learning.)
IMG_20170726_120849573.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20170726_120849573.jpg]
Tons of blooms
IMG_20170726_121932.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20170726_121932.jpg]
Irregular flowers
IMG_20170726_120953165.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20170726_120953165.jpg]
Elongated blossom end
 
Deb Rebel
garden master
Posts: 1474
Location: Zone 6b
163
books cat fish food preservation greening the desert solar trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That is what we call a 'megabloom' and if you're growing for greatness, a highly desired trait. If you are growing Big Zac, Delicious, or a similar beefsteak you will get those blooms. The fruit will look 'ugly' but often grow very large if other things are right (if you have ever had to rig a sling to hold the fruit up, to keep it from detaching from the plant, you've grown big tomatoes). Some will even seem to have a multiple stem, but it is the main stem that actually splits (I have grown these).

What variety (-ies) are you growing that are tossing megablooms?
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Posts: 717
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
69
books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur hunting solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Funny, I've been out "rigging slings" today. I had gone fishing for a couple of days and when I returned it looked like everything had been given steroids! I have been giving them regular sprays of aspirin/baby shampoo/water. Maybe that's why. Dunno.

What variety? I have to say that I don't know. I've saved seed from the best yellow, red and pink tomato for a gazillion years. The pink came from a volunteer in my compost pile long ago and I named it Perfect Pink because it had flawless, uniform fruits. The yellow came from (I think) a Golden Jubilee. The red could have been anything. Aside from my own unknowns, I've grown a "mystery" purple for the last two years that my neighbor gave me seeds of. I bought seeds this year for Rutgers determinate and indeterminate and Tiny Tim (cherry). The same neighbor gave me seeds of a yellow Nugget (cherry) that he and I have been trying to perfect for a couple of years now.

I usually map out who I planted where, but this year I didn't. I'll have to wait and see who they are.
 
Deb Rebel
garden master
Posts: 1474
Location: Zone 6b
163
books cat fish food preservation greening the desert solar trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Brandywine likes to catface a lot, but still very good fruit. A really happy Brandy can drop you fruits over 12 oz without trying and 16 oz are common, and even 20-24 oz. I had one a few years ago that loved the afternoon shade and the amount of water it got and gave me 20 over 16 oz and about another 20 or so over 12 oz, and a couple bigger, the biggest was just over 24 oz. A lot of the pounder plus had to have pieces of old pantyhose made into slings to support them.

Don't discount your megablooms. You may want to think twice about culling them. Just that you will have some big fugly tomatoes. Heh. They still eat.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Posts: 717
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
69
books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur hunting solar trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
To try my best to use proper terminology where I can, I am including this information from an email from Angelyn at Identify That Plant. (In my opinion, a good, helpful website.)

She writes:
According to Plant Identification Terminology, the word "inflorescence" means:

the flowering part of a plant,

a flower cluster,

the arrangement of the flowers on the flowering axis





 
Deb Rebel
garden master
Posts: 1474
Location: Zone 6b
163
books cat fish food preservation greening the desert solar trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
To get bigger fruit... you will notice that the flowers are usually in a group, and the center one is the largest with a few smaller ones to the sides. You can always pinch some of the side ones off. This will give you fewer fruit but they should grow larger.

Sometimes also, when wanting to set seed, you can make a small bag of cheesecloth with a drawstring, cover the bloom before it opens (in this case pick off the side ones on the chosen cluster-s) and when it does, play bee with a qtip to hand pollenate it. Then recover it until bloom fades and the fruit sets. This is so you know the genetics because you definitely know the pollen donor and the pollen recipient that will create your seed fruit.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Posts: 717
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
69
books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur hunting solar trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I went out this morning and picked some beautiful tomatoes. Most of them were "Perfect Pinks". Those are a good performer again this year.

However...

The mega bloom I've had seems to be on the "Mystery Purple" plant that my neighbor gave me seeds of. (He couldn't remember what kind they were, so we call them "mystery".)

There is one wire cage where two of these are planted and one single plant in a cage by itself. The cages are in two different gardens. There are others of this variety here and there, but these two cages have the mega bloom.

I am soooo disappointed in these! The blooms halfway up and to the top are dying, for the most part, in both cages. The cage with two in it had a hatch of tomato fruit worms. I smashed 81 worms (yes, I counted!) and I dropped number 82. That was just in one day!!! Since killing the mother load, there were a couple of days I killed as many as 15 on these two (no worm outbreak on the one in the cage by itself, just dying blooms and ugly tomatoes). The number of worms are dwindling daily, thank goodness! They were mostly a quarter inch in length. Had to stand on my head to find a lot of them. I've decided to keep these plants in the garden as trap plants. I know where the little buggers will be hanging out. It's the only positive use I can come up with, other than I have gotten three large delicious purple tomatoes from very low on one of the plants. I don't see it producing many more in the future.

The other tomato plants in my gardens (purple and other varieties) have had as many as 4 or 5 fruit worms at most (rarely) and an occasional hornworm, but not often. Not a lot of damage done. If I find a hornworm with wasp eggs attached, I break off the leaf and place the leaf and worm on the mulch under the plant. If he moves from there back onto the plant, he gets no further than the lowest leaves. I'll let him stay there until he dies.
 
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!