Are self-pollinated pawpaw seeds viable?

I have 2 pawpaws and 1 flowered for the first time this year.
Happily, it has set around a dozen fruit. I’m really hoping some make it to maturity. A friend has a larger property and is working on growing some from seed. I’d love to give him any from the fruit since they are rare to find here and mine would be free.
Anyone know if the self pollinated are viable? Considering how long the seed starting time runs, I’d hate to give him duds.

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Not for positive, but I think so.

You could try the ‘float test’…cleaning seeds in Water…and the ones that float are less likely to be viable than those that sink.

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KSU says the floating seeds are more likely to be viable-“it is interesting, we had students here look at that and pawpaw seeds are actually the opposite of other seeds, the seeds that float are good and have higher germination, and the seeds that sink have lower germination. Dr Pomper speculated this is because of pawpaws being native to along streams and rivers and have adapted over time to float for water transport.”

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I would agree that as long as the fruits reach maturity and all other things being equal, there should be no problem with the seeds.
I don’t think anyone has done even pseudoscientific research on viability of self pollinated seeds. One challenge of course would be knowing if the fruit was definitely self-pollinated.
Happy for you that you got fruits!

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There is not really any doubt on the self pollination in this case. Second tree did not set any flowers and they are very rare in this area.

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No I totally understand and not questioning that your tree was self pollinated.

And really I need to correct my other statement since KSU has done DNA testing/research to establish that there is definitely some degree of selfing that happens. I assume (too lazy to look it up) they grew out seedlings and compared DNA to the parent , so that would establish the general principle that selfed seeds are viable.

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Thanks! That was what I wanted to know. Plant reproduction can get so complicated. I didn’t want to assume that they would be viable for growing out.
Now I just wish I’d kept track of which tree was which since I know the 2 varieties, but not what went in each spot. :woman_facepalming:
I think the ones he already has are different so I’m sure there will be value in at least a 50% chance of the correct name.

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Is your self-pollinated pawpaw a named variety? Sunflower is known for this trait.

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Hi @Viridian! Congratulations on the fruit set! I just wanted to point out that growing new trees from seed will not produce the same genetics as the parents for pawpaw cultivars (although they will usually be similar).

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The two I have are a Shenandoah and a susquehanna. ( both from Whiffletree)

i think “prima 1216” was also known for it’s ability to self pollinate.

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Recent work by KSU has led them to say that most likely all pawpaw genotypes have at least some degree of self compatibility.
Coincidentally @Viridian one of the varieties they studied was Susquehanna.
Some varieties like Sunflower or Prima may have a greater propensity for selfing.

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Properly stratified and then planted in pots or nursery beds, they germinate close to 100%…so I suspect both the floaters and the sinkers germinate in most cases.
Many seeds float because there is not germ/seed inside.
People do come up / ideas of all types though as to the reason.

I’ve got my seed divided into two batches, the floaters and non-floaters, so I’m running a comparison test this year. I’ll try to remember to update in a few months, but previously it has taken a 6+ months for some of my seeds to germinate, despite over 90 days of cold stratification.

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As long as there isn’t any resulting inbreeding depression (we won’t know till it’s tried) selecting for self-fertile pawpaw genotypes could help make them more useful to people with small gardens who would prefer to plant only one pawpaw tree.

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Also, if one were to do breeding work with isolated, self-pollinated types for a few generations they could end up with relatively homozygous breeding lines that come “true” to type. That would mean they wouldn’t need to be grafted and suckers would also be true to type.

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Keep us in the loop. If temps are hot, usually stratified seeds are up in 60 days or less, but indeed some take an extra year for some reason.