Belated Friday’s Seed – a gift

Another belated Friday’s seeds and talk about a gift; the kind I like the most: plants and seeds :)

My Disporum uniflorum (syn. D. flavens) despite a vigorous growth had never set more than 3 seeds, just a lot of empty fruits. Obviously something’s wrong with pollination; in most cases another plant (different clone) placed nearby will do the trick. So, I am very happy I obtained one, plus some seeds !!! Next year we can hope for more.

Let’s have a look at them:

Disporum uniflorum seeds

And a picture from a few years ago, before I dug it up and divide it (shared with friends and took one with me at the new garden). It is an absolutely gorgeous plant (like all Disporums); in the fall the foliage turns yellow and contrast beautifully with the dark blue fruits.

 

Disporum uniflorum layered with Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’ and Epimedium lishihchenii –  a May symphony in yellow!

 

 

Friday Seeds & germination requirements for Viburnum species

This fall I collected for the first time fruits of Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf Viburnum) and Viburnum rafinesquianum (downy arrow-wood Viburnum).

Surely, I was curious to see how the ‘seeds’ (endocarp + seed) are looking but how about their germination?
There are contradictory statements on the web; some say they first need a cold stratification, others say warm. It’s good to clarify this because I like to provide reliable info.

So, back to the books ;)

Viburnum acerifolium pits (endocarp+ seed)

Viburnum rafinesquianum pits

I like Baskin & Baskin: Seeds – Ecology, Biogeography, and Evolution of Dormancy and Germination (2014) because besides giving results from their own experiments, there are citations of hundreds of other articles on germination (of course, in some cases things are not always clear).

And, the warm stratification is the winner!
These Viburnum spp. have deep simple epicotyl morphophysiological dormancy and the germination requirements are: warm/moist stratification period, followed by a cold/moist period.
In translation, if sown in the summer they will show up the next spring; otherwise they will germinate in the second spring after sowing.

On the same list are many other Viburnum species like: alnifolium, betulifolium, cassinoides, dentatum, dilatatum, lentago, opulus, parvifolium, prunifolium….Those who don’t have access to the book can read here a very short but conclusive summary regarding Viburnum acerifolium germination:
http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.1674/0003-0031%282005%29153%5B0232%3AEDIVAC%5D2.0.CO%3B2

Also another summary here:
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267996605_Overview_of_seed_dormancy_in_Viburnum_Caprifoliaceae

Friday’s seeds – Mitchella repens

I recently collected more partridge berries, together with Lindera benzoin and Prosartes lanuginosa (already shown, click on names).

Mitchella repens presents an interesting fruit, therefore worth a closer look. The red, fleshy, ‘two-eyed’ fruit it is formed after the fusion of the flowers ovaries – the white, fragrant flowers are disposed in pairs.  So, each pair of flowers will form one fruit. Each fruit has a spongy inside (a bit like Gaultheria) and will contain up to 8 seeds.

Mitchella repens fruits and seeds – Partridge berry, twinberry, squaw vine (Fam. Rubiaceae)

Why this perfect, evergreen ground hugging plant is seldom seen cultivated in the gardens remains a mystery to me. It can be easily propagated by cuttings as well.

Belated Friday’s seeds – Chamaedaphne calyculata

Instead of writing about seeds, I was in collecting them ;) therefore a combined post about Chamaedaphne calyculata, the Leatherleaf or ground laurel.

The sole member of the genus Chamaedaphne (Ericaceae), leatherleaf is a low growing evergreen small shrub (up to 1.5 m tall). It is native to cool regions of the Northern Hemisphere, from North America, NE Europe to N. Japan, Mongolia and Siberia, where grows in all types of bogs, sedge fens, and open wetlands.
It is characteristic of mature and late stages of moss shrub communities, where it forms colonies, with rhizomes spreading in the sphagnum moss. It actually helps the installation of other species with whom is found growing, like Sarracenia, Drosera, Kalmia polifolia, Ledum groenlandica, various Vaccinium species.

The common name comes from the thick, leathery leaves, which are turning red-brown in the winter. It has a dense branching and the older stems turn gray with a fine exfoliating bark texture.
The white, bell shaped flowers on long inflorescences appear in April-July, depending on the region. Somewhat resembles Andromeda flowers, which is why Linnaeus first named it Andromeda calyculata.

Chamaedaphne calyculata, Leatherleaf

Fruits are capsules with split open and release the seeds shown below (wedged shaped, golden brown).

Chamaedaphne calyculata fruits and seeds

 It would make a great addition for small and large bog gardens. For those who have conditions and enjoy growing Ericaceous species – the seeds require cold/moist stratification and probably best to germinate them like in nature on a piece of sphagnum moss (in a pot/or ‘in situ’). I showed in a previous post how to easily germinate Gaultheria procumbens and Saxifraga cuneifolia in moss (Read here Sowing in moss).

Chamaedaphne calyculata seedlings germinated/growing on sphagnum moss (look around the Tamarack branch :)

 

 

Fridays Seeds – or is a fruit? part II Morina

It’s Friday again so I continue the discussion (or better said monologue) about fruits versus seeds with Morina longifolia, commonly called Himalayan whorlflower.
If someone missed the Triosteum, see here.

What we call ‘seeds’ for Morina longifolia are also fruits (achenes). Morina is considered a warm germinator with the note that sometimes the hard teguments remain attached to the seedlings and are difficult to remove.

After being soaked in water for a few days, Morina achenes became soft and were easy to cut open. Actually, the tegument is quite thin compared to that of Triosteum, which is why I botched both seeds when trying to remove them (I couldn’t afford more fruits to test on).

But, we can have a look at the fully developed embryo I managed to extract from the second seed; notice the very large cotyledons.

Conclusion: soaking the seeds in water a few days (5-6), followed by sowing at room temperature should suffice for Morina. Before, I recommended keeping the seeds in a moist towel in the fridge for a couple of weeks, which is OK as well, but not really  necessary.
 

 

Friday’s seeds – or is it a fruit? Triosteum

Sometimes we refer to ‘seeds’ without actually realizing that we are talking about the fruits.
This is the case of dry fruits like achenes, caryopses, samaras…, which tightly enclose the seed(s) and it would be practically impossible/or at least highly impractical to try to ‘extract’ the seeds.

So, why do we care if we sow seeds or fruits?
Knowing that we actually handle fruits, helps understanding why certain treatments are needed for the storage/germination process. Also, because in these cases we cannot see the actual seeds, we only make the assumption they are inside the fruit and will germinate in due time. Which perhaps they will, but sometimes there is no one there to do it!
To understand what I mean, you can have a look back at two notorious examples:
False assurance – Linnaea borealis
The Beauty and the Parthenocarpy – Acer triflorum

In the Caprifoliaceae family there are also species with dry fruits which we treat as seeds, like Morina and Triosteum. In both cases, they have hard teguments which play a role in retarding/obstructing the germination.

I wanted for a long time to have a closer look at Triosteum aurantiacum. I found no reliable info regarding its germination but someone who bought ‘seeds’ few years ago got back to me saying that by filing the fruits tegument, followed by GA3 and/or cold-moist stratification obtained good results.

So, I placed the fruits in warm water for a few days in an attempt to soften their teguments before I proceed to dissections. In Triosteum – and I refer here to Triosteum aurantiacum – the fruits resemble coffee beans, and only by looking at them one can imagine it will take a lot of time for them to disintegrate naturally in the soil.

Even after keeping them in water for few days I had to use a cutter to slice through them. The wall of the fruit is extremely thick and the seed is fused to it.
Here’s a plate showing the whole story in pictures:

I managed to extract one seed intact – inside, the embryo is invisible with the naked eye because of underdevelopment, pointing to the requirement of at least one period of cold/moist stratification.

This is a Triosteum aurantiacum SEED

Conclusion: these are the options to hurry up the germination for Triosteum – first, by filing the hard tegument with a metal file almost until reaching the seed, followed by cold/moist stratification 3 months.

Second, by nicking the end of the fruit (I used this myself for T. pinnatifidum), followed by cold/moist stratification for a few months. In this case, take care not to harm the seed when nicking the end and best to keep the fruits in water for a few days to somehow soften them.

A suplimentary GA3 treatment coupled with the cold/moist stratification may have some effect or not; I will try it this winter and we’ll know for sure.

About Morina next time…

 

 

 

Friday’s Seeds – Soldanella

Soldanellas, the snow bells, are absolutely charming plants. I love them all and would like to grow more of them (I’m not very successful at doing it for now….).
So, I was very happy to find seeds of these two species in the Carpathians; I can at least ‘keep’ them in the Seeds Library, if not in the garden :+)

Soldanella pusilla – a high altitude, calcifuge, miniature snowbell; likes the company of P. minima, Campanula alpina, Rhododendron myrtifolius.

Soldanella pusilla seeds

Soldanella hungarica – has fringed, wide bluish/purple flowers and grows in the shade of Fagus sylvatica stands, many times sharing the place with Saxifraga cuneifolia ssp. robusta.

Soldanella hungarica seeds

 

 

 

 

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: http://botanicallyinclined.org/growing-jeffersonia-from-seeds/

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: http://www.robertpavlis.com/aspen-grove-gardens/

 

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.