Plumeria Seed Pod Development
The seed pod on my plumeria has been quickly developing, since it was pollinated about a month ago. At three weeks the two follicles of the seed pod abruptly split apart.
According to the Plumeria Society of America, flowers can be pollinated by thrips, moths, butterflies, and hummingbirds, or self-pollinated by the wind. Thrips can crawl inside the narrow tubular receptacle to transfer pollen to the pistil tucked deep inside the flower. Hummingbirds, which are integal to the pollination of deep-throated flowers, are able to stick their long tongues inside the narrow tube of the flower. In the past I tried to hand pollinate the flowers, as the great amateur hybridizer William Moragne, Sr., did in the 1950s, with no luck.
After four weeks the follicles are beginning to swell noticibly as the cells enlarge, filling themselves with water. Since pollination the pedicle, the base of the flower attached to the infloresence, has swelled and hardened-off to support the weight of the developing seeds.
Right now, I’m expecting the seeds to be ready for dispersal some time after next June, which would be exactly eight months. Each follicle will ripen into a separate pod, containing anywhere from 20 to over 100 seeds, depending on the vigor of the cultivar, which can vary greatly. The pods will continue to mature while the plant is dormant. I’ve already brought my plumerias inside, since it’s been in the 40s during the night.