Breeding Chilli

Cross Breeding the Chilli

First let’s start with the Anatomy of the Chilli Flower The chilli flower is an Individual reproductive unit consisting of both male (androecium) and female (gynoecium) sexual reproductive systems which include stamens, carpels, and an ovary.These flowers types are known as bisexual or perfect flowers.

Thus enabling the chilli plant to self-pollenate, this is achieved by the transfer of pollen from the male reproductive structure (anther) which produces male gametophytes to the female reproductive structure (stigma) located on top of a carpel, in which the female gametophytes (inside ovules) are located within the same flower.

After the pollen tube grows through the carpel's style, the sex cell nuclei from the pollen grain migrate into the ovule to fertilize the egg cell and endosperm nuclei within the female gametophyte in a process termed double fertilization. The resulting zygote develops into an embryo, while the triploid endosperm (one sperm cell plus two female cells) and female tissues of the ovule give rise to the surrounding tissues in the developing seed. The ovary, which produced the female gametophytes, then grows into a fruit, which surrounds the seeds.

Self-pollination tends to decrease the genetic diversity (increase the number of homozygous individuals) in a population, and is much less common than cross-fertilization. Many species of plants have evolved mechanisms to promote cross-pollination and avoid self-pollination, though certain plants, such as the chilli, regularly self-pollinate.

Reproductive parts of the Chilli Flower

A. petals: are modified leaves that surround the reproductive parts of the flower to attract pollinators. Together, all of the petals of a flower are called a corolla
B. stigma: is the female reproductive structure
C. pistil: is the tube like structure rising up from the carpel ending in the stigma
D. stamen: is the pollen producing reproductive organ of a flower. Consisting of two pairs of pollen sacs
E. carpel or blossom end: form a hollow structure called an ovary, which produces ovules internally which in turn becomes the fruit.
F. calyx: the outermost whorl consisting of units called sepals; these are typically green and enclose the rest of the flower in the bud stage.

How to produce at Hybrid Chilli

First let’s choose a healthy flower we want to use as the male in this cross breeding, in this case I have chosen the BhutJolokia Chocolate.

Now we must choose a female variety, the 7pot/pod Yellow.

Next we must use some forceps so we can remove the petals from the bud we will be using as the female.

Once all of the petals are removed it will be easier to remove the stamens.

After removing the entire Stamen all we are left with now is the pistil. This flower has now had all of is male sexual reproductive parts removed.

Next we must gather the pollen from the flower we are using as the male, remember we must do this at a time when the anthers which are attached to the stamen are open and shedding pollen. This can be achieved by using a small fine haired paint brush.

Using the paint brush we will now gently transfer the pollen to the stigma (tip) of the pistil Being careful not to damage or break it off.

Finally we must be able to identify and record our future Hybrid. We can do this by tying a coloured string around the stem of the flower we have pollenated, also writing down what two plants were used and which was the male and which the female used in this cross bre

Over a couple of weeks you will notice that either the flower will drop or the cross will have taken thus resulting eventually in a new hybrid. At the beginning it would also be advisable to make more than one of each desired crossing to be sure of getting at least one cross.
You’ll need to wait for the crossed pod to mature and collect the seeds from it! It’s these seeds that contain the genetic information from both parents. So now you have completed the hardest part to producing a new hybrid. It’s good to know that every single seed from this pod will produce a different plant which can be anything between BhutJolokia Chocolate and 7pot/pod Yellow. If you used several flowers, the chances of getting very different crosses will again be much higher.Over time you can continue with this hybrid by growing out many generations, choosing each time the desired characteristics you hope to pass on to the next generations resulting in a new strain of chilli plant.

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Note:As you can see on the preceding table that It can take many years and/or generations for your hybrid to develop into a new interesting strain which will remain stable

Capsicum cross breedingchart

This table shows the end results possible with various crosses of different chilli species.

(Reproduced from Figure 3, Genetic Resources of Capsicum, International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, 1983 [Crop Genetic Resources Centre, Plant Production and Protection Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations])

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