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How Can Cross-Pollination of Pea Plants Be Done?

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How Can Cross-Pollination of Pea Plants Be Done?

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Overview

The humble pea plant rocketed to fame in the 19th century when Gregor Mendel's experiments provided the foundation for genetic studies. Mendel specifically chose pea plants for his experiment because they are easy to pollinate and have a few, easily definable physical characteristics. These qualities make Mendel's cross-pollination of pea plants easy to replicate in a classroom setting or in your own garden.

Step 1

Remove the anthers from one variety of pea plant. Do this just before the pea flowers open. Carefully push apart the petals of the flower with a gloved hand and pinch off the anthers.The anthers of a pea plant are the long, threadlike protrusions located in the center of the flower bud. This will keep the pea plant from fertilizing itself.

Step 2

Remove a flower from the second variety of pea plants once it opens and its anthers are covered in yellow pollen.

Step 3

Dust the anther-less group of flowers with pollen from the cut flower. Brush the pollen-covered anthers of the cut flower over the sticky tip of the stigma, which is the thick, solid protrusion in the center of the flower bud. Move on to the next flower once the stigma's tip is covered in pollen. You may need more than one flower to provide all of the pollen you need.

Step 4

Place a small paper bag over the pollinated pea flowers to prevent any further pollination. Remove the bag in one week.

Step 5

Allow nature to take over. Plant the peas of the anther-less artificially pollinated peas once they reach maturity.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Two varieties of pea plants
  • Paper bag

References

  • Experiment Resources: Law of Segregation
  • Cornell University: Basic Concepts of Seed Production and Seed Regeneration
Keywords: pea flower, pollinate peas, cross-pollinate

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.