Is Hand Pollination Good Enough?
B. C. Porter, Port Ewen, New York
The revision and clarification of the Plant Registration form and the supplementary information under the caption "Standards for Evaluation", Quarterly Bulletin ARS V28 (1), 21-29 are indeed a major improvement. This work clearly specifies what is required, why it is required and then makes an effort to help evaluate new hybrids. Now, if our society will approach pollination with the same courage and clarification we have devoted to registration and evaluation, we will make that work more meaningful. In support of this contention, let's take a look at "Hand Pollination." Does it not cover any type of pollination, just as long as you use your hand? Has not the time come to spell out in exact detail the procedures used in "Controlled Pollination" - so all will thoroughly understand its importance? Should we assume that all our members understand fully the term "Open Pollination" or "Open Pollinated"? If you receive a packet of open pollinated species seed - from a reliable source - have we not given you a justifiable reason to call the resulting seedlings R. campanulatum? Isn't it time we put obsolete practices and methods aside and cease to promote polluted species seed altogether and dispense with the term Hand Pollinated entirely? Rhododendron breeding records are predicated on honor and integrity. Let's keep that predominant. We can't improve past records but we can make future records worthwhile. We do not have to perpetuate the obsolete wisdom of the past.