Gymnocalycium horstii ssp. buenekeri: Male or female?

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nachtkrabb
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Gymnocalycium horstii ssp. buenekeri: Male or female?

Post by nachtkrabb »

Hi everybody,
since more than 20years I have a wonderful Gymnocalycium horstii ssp. buenekeri. Its sight with a sunburn is in the chapter about diseases here in the forum.
GymnoHorstii-in 2018.jpg
GymnoHorstii-in 2018.jpg (64.25 KiB) Viewed 340 times
In http://www.kuas-kettinger.de/gymnocalyc ... ekeri.html I have just read:
...da die Zweihäusigkeit der Pflanzen dazu führt, dass nur selten Früchte gebildet werden.
...as the dioecious nature of the plants means that fruits are rarely formed. (Translation: DeepL)
I didn't know that -- did you know that there are male and female plants of that kind? :shock:
Has anybody an idea, how to distinguish the two, i.e. how to find out if a lady or a gent sits on my balcony? #-o

Thank you very much.
Nachtkrabb :lol:

PS: It's grown a lot since 2018 and is building two buds again. I do have to take a new picture.
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RorBurg56
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Re: Gymnocalycium horstii ssp. buenekeri: Male or female?

Post by RorBurg56 »

I would not have thought any cacti were dioecious. My regular g. horstii isn't but youl have flowers soon to see.
Growing some succs and cacs in mid/coastal Scotland.
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Re: Gymnocalycium horstii ssp. buenekeri: Male or female?

Post by 7george »

I did not know about this species to have (functionally) male or female plants either. Have read this about G. bruchii. We have to see flowers in detail inside and realise witch parts (pollen sacs/anthers or stigma) are purely developed and are not likely to be fertile. It is also possible that your plant can be bisexual because in different populations and clones this can be working in different ways.
Mammillaria_dioica_9.jpg
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Female plant of Mammillaria dioica. (Photo credit: Joedecruyenaere / CC-BY-SA)

See also: Wolfgang Papsch, 2013. Gymnocalycium bruchii: History, Ecology, Systematics, Part 2. Schütziana 4(2013)1 p. 3 ( Continued from Schütziana 3 (2):3-43, 2012).
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nachtkrabb
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Re: Gymnocalycium horstii ssp. buenekeri: Male or female?

Post by nachtkrabb »

WOW! I had no idea either there are female Mammillarias! Thank you for showing.
I will in future have a look at all flowers and turn into a bad voyeur.
N.
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MrXeric
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Re: Gymnocalycium horstii ssp. buenekeri: Male or female?

Post by MrXeric »

Very interesting! I first learned that some cacti can have male or female sterility when looking through the ADBLPS seed list, which reports observed sterility/fertility, but I assumed that was just a particular consequence of the limited gene pool of plants bred in captivity.
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Re: Gymnocalycium horstii ssp. buenekeri: Male or female?

Post by mmcavall »

The ADBLPS list reports self sterility/fertility, which is not exactly the same as dioicy / monoicy.
(dioicious: male and female in separated individuals; monoicious: male and female in the same individual)

Every dioicious plant will be self-sterile because they are always only male or only female, so they can't fertilize thenselves.

But not all monoicious plants are self-fertile: being a monoicious plant means only that it brings both male and female parts in the same plant (usually in the same flower). But there are genetic mechanisms to avoid self-fertilization, because cross fertilization is important to ev0lution to increase variability. With cross-fertilization the alleles (genes) are mixed in each generation, resulting in unique genotypes in the population, and some will be more adaptative then others... so ev0lution keeps going on. Conversely, self fertilized individuals will produce offsprings with half of the individuals with fixed alleles (both copies are identical), and the offspring of these plants with fixed alleles will be all identical to this given gene... and in the end the population will have low variability.

This may sound complicated if you are not familiar to population genetics, but the important concept is: cross-fertilization increases variability , and variability is important to long-term survival of the species and it´s adaptation to environmental changes. This way many species developed mechanisms to avoid self-fertilization (or to favour cross-fertilization), even with both sexes in the same flower.

That is what you see in the ADBLPS list. While most are self-sterile, there are a number of species that lacks the mechanisms to avoid self-fertilization, so they can fertilize thenselves (which brigs some advantages too: when sexual partners are rare, for example, it is good to be self-fertile, or when the environment is stable, you dont need too many different genotypes in the population). Each species/population have its own ev0lutionary history and will be self-fertile or self-sterile.

The ADBLPs list reports self sterility/fertility but most of the self-sterile are monoicious species and will always have male and female parts in the same individual. As far as I know, dioicy is the exception and is not common in cacti. Maybe only a few examples can be cited? Or am I wrong?
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Re: Gymnocalycium horstii ssp. buenekeri: Male or female?

Post by DaveW »

Mmcavall explains it excellently.

The name Mammilaria dioica indicates the original plant was dioecious = having effectively male or female flowers. Whether all specimens of the species or flowers show this trait is uncertain.

I did know that Gymnocalycium bueneckeri was supposedly dioecious, therefore hand pollinated my two but only one set a fruit. Therefore presumably the other was male and the fruiting one female if plants are male or female and not just the individual flowers themselves?

Graham Charles in his Gymnocalycium book says for G. bueneckeri:-

"The very large fruits are difficult to produce since pollination of flowers from both a fertile male and a female plant is needed. Even if pollen is transferred, a fruit does not always result."

Therefore really the only way you can be sure your plant is functionally female is if a fruit is produced.

Also what should be remembered whilst some are male or female flowers they may look to have both stigmas and anthers present but they may be atrophied and non functional so you may have to look hard to see if they have viable pollen on the anthers. The same applies to whether the stigma lobes are functional.

I must confess that I did not pay much attention to my "male" G. bueneckeri when it flowered but in photos the female stigma does seem to be missing so I will pay more attention next time it flowers and perhaps do a flower section.

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Tom in Tucson
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Re: Gymnocalycium horstii ssp. buenekeri: Male or female?

Post by Tom in Tucson »

DaveW wrote: Wed Aug 17, 2022 2:10 pm Mmcavall explains it excellently.

The name Mammilaria dioica indicates the original plant was dioecious = having effectively male or female flowers. Whether all specimens of the species or flowers show this trait is uncertain.

I did know that Gymnocalycium bueneckeri was supposedly dioecious, therefore hand pollinated my two but only one set a fruit. Therefore presumably the other was male and the fruiting one female if plants are male or female and not just the individual flowers themselves?

Graham Charles in his Gymnocalycium book says for G. bueneckeri:-

"The very large fruits are difficult to produce since pollination of flowers from both a fertile male and a female plant is needed. Even if pollen is transferred, a fruit does not always result."

Therefore really the only way you can be sure your plant is functionally female is if a fruit is produced.

Also what should be remembered whilst some are male or female flowers they may look to have both stigmas and anthers present but they may be atrophied and non functional so you may have to look hard to see if they have viable pollen on the anthers. The same applies to whether the stigma lobes are functional.

I must confess that I did not pay much attention to my "male" G. bueneckeri when it flowered but in photos the female stigma does seem to be missing so I will pay more attention next time it flowers and perhaps do a flower section.


bunekeri.jpg
Good shot showing male condition
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Re: Gymnocalycium horstii ssp. buenekeri: Male or female?

Post by MrXeric »

mmcavall wrote: Wed Aug 17, 2022 11:50 am The ADBLPs list reports self sterility/fertility but most of the self-sterile are monoicious species and will always have male and female parts in the same individual. As far as I know, dioicy is the exception and is not common in cacti. Maybe only a few examples can be cited? Or am I wrong?
The list also reports male/female sterility when observed. For example, the listing for G. buenekeri reports that both female and male sterility have been observed ("fs/ms"). Looking at the other gymnos in that section, dioecy seems to be a feature of subgenus Macrosemineum?

I did find the following:
Dicliny occurs when some members of a population
normally produce flowers that are unisexual instead of her-
maphroditic and has been reported in several Cactaceae
taxa. Dioecy (co-occurrence of androecious and gynoe-
cious plants) occurs in Echinocereus coccineus (Hoffmann
1992) and Opuntia stenopetala (Parfitt 1985). Gynodioecy
(consisting of hermaphroditic and gynoecious plants) has
been reported in Mammillaria dioica (Ganders and
Kennedy 1978; Parfitt 1985) and M. neopalmeri (Parfitt
1985). Trioecy (co-occurrence of androecious, gynoecious,
and hermaphroditic plants) occurs in P. pringlei (Fleming
et al. 1994) and Selenicereus innesii (Innes and Glass 1991).
Hermaphroditic, dioecious, and trioecious populations
have been documented for Opuntia robusta (Parfitt 1985;
del Castillo 1986; Hoffmann 1992).
source

I also found this paper on dioecy in Echinocereus: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/f ... 086/697072

But just searching the ADBLPS list, you'll get 34 hits for "fs/ms" (more if you search "ms" or fs" alone), so it's likely there are more dioecious species that haven't been scientifically documented.
DaveW wrote: Wed Aug 17, 2022 2:10 pm Also what should be remembered whilst some are male or female flowers they may look to have both stigmas and anthers present but they may be atrophied and non functional so you may have to look hard to see if they have viable pollen on the anthers. The same applies to whether the stigma lobes are functional.
Good point, Dave. I have noticed on my plants that some flowers had their stigma lobes fused or that the anthers don't release visible pollen grains when brushed or rubbed with a finger. I thought maybe it was health or genetic defect issue, but now I wonder otherwise.
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Re: Gymnocalycium horstii ssp. buenekeri: Male or female?

Post by mmcavall »

MrXeric wrote: Thu Aug 18, 2022 5:00 am
mmcavall wrote: Wed Aug 17, 2022 11:50 am The ADBLPs list reports self sterility/fertility but most of the self-sterile are monoicious species and will always have male and female parts in the same individual. As far as I know, dioicy is the exception and is not common in cacti. Maybe only a few examples can be cited? Or am I wrong?


The list also reports male/female sterility when observed. For example, the listing for G. buenekeri reports that both female and male sterility have been observed ("fs/ms"). Looking at the other gymnos in that section, dioecy seems to be a feature of subgenus Macrosemineum?
Interesting. I think we should ask Aymeric to explain this listing!

Because you can also find "f/fs". What would it mean ? "Fertile/female sterility"? It is self-fertile but sometimes the female part is not functioning?
MrXeric wrote: Thu Aug 18, 2022 5:00 am But just searching the ADBLPS list, you'll get 34 hits for "fs/ms" (more if you search "ms" or fs" alone), so it's likely there are more dioecious species that haven't been scientifically documented.
Male sterility is a trait that I recall occuring in maize, which is a monoiceous species for sure. So male sterility (or female sterility) is not the same as dioicy, although the practical result is the same (you end needing two plants to make a cross).
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Re: Gymnocalycium horstii ssp. buenekeri: Male or female?

Post by nachtkrabb »

...and the lesson of this is:
I just have to get a second plant, of course of the other sex than my plant.
Then I wait until both are flowering at the same time & pollinate the flowers "round robin".
Then I wait until eventually one of the two produces a fruit.
Then I know, if my old plant was male or female.
Easy, isn't it? :lol:

Thank you very much for your information & pictures. This is really interesting to me. I like it.
Nachtkrabb. 8)
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nachtkrabb
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Re: Gymnocalycium horstii ssp. buenekeri: Male or female?

Post by nachtkrabb »

Besides, DaveW, I do like your plant. They flower all over -- lovely.
I am happy when mine gets a 2nd bud! The flower of mine also don't look that lively, but more orderly.
Is that because we are orderly Germans round here?! #-o Or have I just got another name wrong? :-k
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Re: Gymnocalycium horstii ssp. buenekeri: Male or female?

Post by 7george »

It's worth checking for a stigma under anthers because often it can seat very low at Gymnos. Or make a section if you want to know.

Image
In this case I did not find any in the right smaller flower which pollen sacs also looked non-fertile. G. eurypleurum.

Image
Another old photo of the G. bruchii plant I have lost. These flowers look female.
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Re: Gymnocalycium horstii ssp. buenekeri: Male or female?

Post by DaveW »

Yes in some cases the style will elongate and stigma will mature after the anthers have shed most of the viable pollen to help prevent self fertilisation, in other genera the style and stigma may be exerted first before the anthers are. Seemingly there are many versions of self sterility in plants.

I have noticed that in some Cleistocacus the style and stigma are exerted before the anthers.

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https://www.bing.com/images/search?view ... ajaxserp=0
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Re: Gymnocalycium horstii ssp. buenekeri: Male or female?

Post by nachtkrabb »

DaveW wrote: Sat Aug 20, 2022 11:39 am Yes in some cases the style will elongate and stigma will mature after the anthers have shed most of the viable pollen to help prevent self fertilisation, in other genera the style and stigma may be exerted first before the anthers are. Seemingly there are many versions of self sterility in plants.
Hallo DaveW,
your pictures are a treat! Great! About preventing selfpollination: When my Selenicereus donkelaari opens up a flower, she starts with opening it just a tiny little bit and sticks out its style. Much later it opens up complete, so that the "waterfall" of stamen may pour out. Sel. grandiflorus doesn't do that, it just opens up its flower.
I will check for a picture as it looks funny, that "tongue sticking out".
Nachtkrabb

Found some -- to me it looks as if they wanted to check the air.
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