I have been poking a little at the flowers but they are not what I am used to. I've hand pollinated many other plants with success but this flower structure is more closed off and I can't seem to locate the pollen.

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  • Which type of tool did you end up using? Did you try any tool that didn't work? – csk Aug 17 '20 at 16:49
  • @csk So far no success but I ordered this tool to try out: smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01D5G88ZE - In the meantime I have been flicking (attempting to vibrate the flowers/stems) – Enigma Aug 17 '20 at 21:41
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    you could try with your phone on the highest vibrate setting – csk Aug 18 '20 at 3:15
  • I have been able to pollinate 5 flowers so far using the above tool. Timing and method appear to be significant factors for success - many more flowers have fallen. – Enigma Oct 17 '20 at 5:51

Many Solanums use a special pollination mechanism called buzz pollination. It requires a bee to land on the flower and vibrate its wings at a specific frequency before the anthers release their pollen. In nature, this increases the plants reproductive success rate, by only releasing pollen onto the exact kind of bee that will visit other plants of the same species.

In gardening, this is a bit annoying if you want to hand pollinate. You have to re-create the vibration of bee wings to get the flower to release its pollen. This article recommends using a vibrating implement such as an electric toothbrush. Hold a spoon or bowl under the flower to collect the pollen. If the toothbrush doesn't work, they suggest trying a tuning fork or vibrator.

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