Sources of Pollen
Probably every Rhododendron Society Chapter has one or more members interested in breeding. Some of these members have been making crosses for many years and have several named varieties to their credit. Others are just starting, spurred on perhaps by the thrill of growing a few rhododendron plants from seed from our Seed Exchange.
In many cases crosses are made for a specific purpose such as that of creating varieties resistant to unfavorable conditions in the locality where the breeder lives. This often means that he wants to use varieties which are unavailable to him at the moment, but which he feels would bring in worthwhile characters. One of the common ways of bringing in this new genetic material is by securing pollen.
This has developed to the extent where a suggestion was made that the A.R.S. set up a Pollen Exchange, somewhat on the same basis as the Seed Exchange. This was discussed at the last meeting of the Board of Directors, and at least for the present it was decided that it presented a number of difficulties and so it was not decided to start such an Exchange.
It was brought out that a number of rhododendron growers in the Northwest had been sending pollen to breeders for a number of years and that they were willing to continue doing so. Occasionally members want to obtain pollen from certain plants in the Test Garden in Portland. Oregon, as they know about the extensive collection of species and varieties growing there. The President of the Portland Chapter, Mr. Louis Grothaus ,Lake Oswego, Oregon, stated that he would be willing to receive requests for pollen from the Test Garden and would make every effort to see that such requests were filled. Other rhododendron growers present indicated that they would be willing to furnish pollen. It was suggested that requests for pollen from the Test Garden go direct to Mr. Grothaus. Other requests for pollen could go direct to individuals if it is known to the breeder that those particular individuals have the varieties or species wanted and are willing to collect the pollen. Where the location of the desired pollen is unknown, requests may be sent to the Executive Secretary who will make an effort to forward them to people who may be able to provide the material requested.
One breeder requesting pollen has been in the habit of sending a collection of small vials, labeled with the names of the plants from which pollen was desired, and all packed in such a way that they could be returned to the breeder with a minimum of effort on the part of the grower furnishing the pollen.
If requests are sent to the Executive Secretary they should be made reasonably early as it may take a little time to locate the variety or species desired.