Monday, January 3, 2011

Serendipitous bean crosses

I thought that beans were strictly self-pollinating...until this year!  While shelling my dry beans, I noticed some that looked like this:

and this:

I'm not really sure about the parents of the first one, but this is my guess:
 Momma (Black Runner) - Baby - Daddy (Rattlesnake)

I remember picking the speckled "baby" beans from the Black Runner plant and the pods appeared to have faint stripes similar to the Rattlesnake beans.
The second "new" bean came from this pod on the Painted Lady Runner bean plant:

 You can, again, see the purple stripes on the pod coming from Rattlesnake (aka "baby daddy"):
Rattlesnake beans
 Painted Lady Runner beans

Offspring of Painted Lady and Rattlesnake.


Curbstone Valley Farm said...

How fun! You're right, beans produce perfect flowers, and generally don't cross, however, per SSE "Cross pollination by insects is possible but rare as pollination occurs before the flower opens." Now I'm curious to see what your 'baby' plants will look like. A fun little Mendelian experiment next spring :)

NotSoAngryRedHead said...

Beans are so pretty! Interesting crosses!

Daphne said...

Beans can cross. Most places don't have insects that can do if for regular beans, but some places do. And runner beans are fairly easily cross pollinated from what I hear (personally never grown more than one type of runner bean at one time).

BTW your cross looks just like a painted lady runner bean that was sent to me. The top one looks more like the normal runner beans I see. It will be interesting to grow them out and see what I get.

Stefaneener said...

I've got a book review coming up and in that book the author talks a lot about bean crosses. Apparently it's not that uncommon.

They sure are pretty, though.

Christina said...

Very interesting, indeed! And beans do easily cross; however, to cross, they need to be the same species, and runner beans and rattlesnake beans aren't the same species. Runner beans are Phaseolus coccineus while the rattlesnake beans are Phaseolus vulgaris. My guess is that either some latent genes sprung up as your runner beans crossed, or someone within bumblebee flying distance grows runner beans too. It will be fascinating to try growing these out and seeing what you come up with.

Christina said...

Looking at your post again, I think the crosses are actually between the black runner and the painted lady. You can get a variety of progeny from crossing (just like kids within one family are different from eaither)between parents--just because it is the same parents that crossed doesn't mean the offspring will be identical to each other.

Anyway, genetics is fun!

TS said...

Those beans are awesome! I have very frisky phlox who scatter their pinkish babies all over my garden. Seeing what colors they'll be when the bloom is always worth the wait. :o)

fer said...

So interesting to see your beans crossing. I wonder how the little plants will be. I didn't had much luck this past season with beans, but I will try again for sure.