Friday’s seed – Iris ruthenica

Back to the Friday’s seed with an ad-hoc seeds photo session up in the mountains.
I. ruthenica has a relatively wide distribution from Eastern Europe to Asia, growing usually at subalpine and alpine elevations.
I particularly like it for the fragrant, deep blue/violet, flowers and the narrow leaves which form tufts of grassy ledges on the mountain slopes.

Iris ruthenica falls in the category of arillate irises and since the arils are drying fast, I wanted to capture them as fresh as possible, so not a very good image but it serve its purpose

Spending time on the mountain slope gazing at the blue sky and the rock walls would have been satisfying enough; weaving my hands through the grassy tufts to find the iris capsules made the moment unforgettable. The flowers pictures was taken during another trip, in a different location.

Friday’s Seed – Jeffersonia diphylla

During a visit to the Aspen Groves Gardens to leave a few of my ‘precious’ seedlings for babysitting, I have also been ‘presented’ with nice, fresh and fat seeds of Jeffersonia diphylla :)

The seeds don’t keep very well in moist storage and I will be trying a new method this year, but you may never know how it goes…I recommend to those who have been waiting for it, to get hold of the seeds right now (orders are accepted until July 12th, then the Shop will be closed till August 10th).

All you need to know is here:

Jeffersonia diphylla, Twinleaf; few seeds still attached to the fruit wall.

Jeffersonia diphylla seeds – 1 mm grid


And btw, those living in driving distance from Guelph, Ontario – this Saturday, July 8, Aspen Grove Gardens of Robert and Judy Pavlis are open for visiting from 10 am- 4 pm.  Don’t miss the opportunity!

Read more and see pictures here:


Note: Besides sowing fresh or moist kept seeds, I emphasize again the requirement for good germination.

Baskin & Baskin have shown that ripe seeds of Jeffersonia diphylla have an underdeveloped embryo. Seeds need high summer temperatures (30˚C) in order for the embryo to develop optimally and reach at least one mm in length before dormancy can be broken by cold stratification. If this requirement is not met, another warm/cold cycle is required by the seeds to germinate.

Jeffersonia diphylla two-year old plant

Sneaky Saruma

Saruma took advantage I didn’t watch it for a couple of days and dropped its seeds into the ground. Sneaky!

But I still caught some of them ;) and there will be more because, unlike its cousins Asarum species, it flowers on and off throughout the summer.

Saruma henryi fresh seeds – the clustered seeds seem to mimic bird droppings or a caterpillar?; no need for the strategy because they fall to the ground very fast after the fruit splits open.

It joined right away the Moist packed seeds category! Very easy from fresh or moist kept seeds.

Friday’s Seeds – Tiger Iris

A few new Iris seeds from the rare side, so pictures are warranted. Despite its name, Iris tigridia (common name Tiger iris) is a completely harmless iris ;) hailing from the Altai region of Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China. Not an easy one, but extremely beautiful dwarf iris with blue streaked petals.

Images in wild habitat: Iris tigridia

Iris tigridia seeds

Iris potaninii, similar in habit (and distribution), has light to deep yellow flowers. As well from dry, rocky mountain slopes.

Images in wild habitat: Iris potaninii

Iris potaninii seeds

They both belong to the group of arillate Irises; I will update this post later with soaked seeds images to better observe the arils.


Friday’s Seed- Matthiola fragrans

Today I present the seeds of an interesting Matthiola: M. fragrans. It grows wild in steppe regions from Ukraine to E. Kazakhstan, sometimes on chalky sediments. The flowers are reddish-brown or yellowish, similar of another nice but rarely cultivated Matthiola, M. trojana.

Matthiola fragrans seeds (Fam. Brassicaceae)

The seedlings seem to do well, already developed the indumentum; it will be interesting to see how they’ll adapt later /if to garden conditions. I like the challenge.

Matthiola fragrans seedlings


Friday’s Seeds – Papaveraceae

Back to seeds, and just a few here from the last published seed gallery.

Many of the species of Papaveraceae family present seeds with elaiosomes, a well-known adaptation to ant dispersal (myrmechory). In the general term ‘elaiosomes’ are included various seed appendages rich in lipids (with oleic acid as the main component), amino acids, carbohydrates and vitamins.

These appendages are often very beautiful and interesting. Problem is, you have to be fast in admiration because few days after dispersal/collecting (whichever comes first ;-) they will ‘shrink’ or simply ‘disappear’. This applies as well for the seeds which are kept in moist storage for later sowing/sales (keeping these species as dry seeds is strongly NOT recommended).

Stylophorum diphyllum, one of my favourites, with ‘mohawk-style’ elaiosomes (insert with seeds in moist storage).

Stylophorum diphyllum

Stylophorum lasiocarpum – with a different ‘hair’ style.

Stylophorum lasiocarpum

Corydalis solida – displays  ‘leaf shaped’ elaiosomes.

Corydalis solida

Dicentra cucullaria – a hard one to catch and the elaiosomes fade very fast.

Dicentra cucullaria

And, I cannot forget the Sanguinaria: ‘little snails’ trying to get away :)

Sanguinaria canadensis


More on the Papaveraceae seed gallery.



Friday’s Seeds – Asparagaceae

Keep up the pace!

Another benefit of organizing the seeds images after their respective family is that I get to update my files regarding changes that have been made. And there have been quite a few lately.
For example, Fam. Asparagaceae includes now many of the formerly Liliaceae genera such as Maianthemum and Polygonatum. Also Scilla, Hyacinthella, Muscari, Ornithogalum, together with Yucca, Agave and many others are now part of the largely expanded ‘Asparagus’ family ;)

Change can be hard but got to keep up the pace. Just a couple of Scilla and Ornithogalum species which are new for me.

Scilla rosenii

Scilla mischtschenkoana


Talking seeds, this is a good occasion to point out at my new website feature –
The SEEDS Library
! :)

Friday’s Seeds – Fritillaria

And a Happy New Year!

I’ve recently sown few species new for me: Fritillaria and Gagea – Fam. Liliaceae.  I hoped that the close-up pictures will reveal minute differences between the seeds, and I will be able to use them for species identification. I was wrong – partially.

There are slight differences, especially when looking at them by comparison, but fair to say it is (almost) impossible to ID these Fritillaria spp. only after their seeds (F. ruthenica is a bit distinctive). Other Gagea species might be very similar with G. taurica as well. Not surprisingly, many Lilium species have also look-alike seeds.

In this case we can only trust and hope that after a few years the bulbs will flower to reveal the names written on the labels. With the same spirit of hope we look forward to the New Year, as a better, safer, and peaceful one for all !

Gagea taurica seeds

  Happy New Year!

                                    – and keep sowing :)                             


Friday’s Seeds – Pedicularis

Pedicularis is an interesting, large and varied genus of hemi-parasitic species – now part of Fam. Orobanchaceae.  Included are many attractive species, unfortunately not easy to germinate/cultivate – which makes them even more desirable! Too bad these beautiful plants have such a ‘lousy’ common name – louseworts!

The seeds are quite variable as well, although I can only show four species. I’ve added google plant images links (in red) for those curious.

Pedicularis atropurpurea


Pedicularis atropurpurea seeds


Pedicularis sceptrum-carolinum, the Moor-king lousewort


Pedicularis sceptrum-carolinum seeds

Pedicularis nordmanniana


Pedicularis nordmanniana seeds


Pedicularis oederi


Pedicularis oederi


Their general common name: louseworts, allude to ancient beliefs that they would induce lice infestations in livestock.
I started some sowing experiments last year and I’m happy to continue.


Friday’s Seed – Lomatium nudicaule


Lomatium nudicaule – Indian celery, Indian consumption plant, Barestem biscuitroot
Fam. Apiaceae


Lomatium nudicaule seeds (1 mm grid)

Lomatium nudicaule is a symbolic, valuable species for the Native People of British Columbia; the whole plant is edible and the seeds were chewed in case of colds, sore throats, tuberculosis.

From The Beliefs of the WSANEC People:
“That the KEXMIN, Indian consumption plant, is a good medicine used to clean and open the way for the pure spirits to come near”.