Seedling Variation in Titanopsis calcarea
One of the exciting, and yet sometimes frustrating, things about growing succulents from seed is you never really know what you are going to get. This is especially true when the pollination is "open," meaning you don't control the origin of the pollen. You know the identify of the female plant, because that is the plant from which you collect the fruit and hence the seed. However, often you don't know the plant which supplied the pollen that pollinated that female plant. That was the situation for seed I harvested, and sowed, from a Titanopsis calcarea plant in the autumn of 2011. The result was approximately 12 seedlings which were moved outside to one of my over wintering frames in the summer of 2012, and basically forgotten. This spring, I began cleaning out this over wintering frame and rediscovered the seedlings. Most were typical Titanopsis calcarea, they looked just like the female parent, but three were different. They were definitely T. calcarea, but they looked different. They displayed the variation that often occurs when you grow from seed.
Seedling #1 (above) is Titanopsis calcarea but compared to the parent plant, the tips of the leaves are more pronounced and the warts (the round markings on the leaf tips) are larger and lighter in color. For me, it's more attractive than the parent T. calcarea.
Seedling #2 also has the tips of the leaves more pronounced, but the warts are not as numerous as on seedling #1 and not as white. It too is quite different in appearance in comparison with the parent plant.
Seedling #3 is perhaps the most interesting. Again, the leaf tips are more pronounced, and the warts large and white, but now there is a noticeable red coloration surrounding the warts. The white warts, surrounded by red, on the ends of gray-green leaves produces a very different and attractive looking plant.
All three seedlings are still Titanopsis calcarea, but they are all slightly different from each other and different from their parent from which the seed came. That's the fun of growing from seed. Such noticeable variation doesn't always occur, but it occurs often enough to keep one's eyes watching those emerging seedlings very closely with the excitement of removing the wrapping of a new gift. As those seedlings grow you just never know what you are going to discover.