Fridays Seeds in lieu of flowers – Pulsatilla

I don’t remember if I’ve already done a Friday’s seeds about Pulsatilla; in any case this is more to draw attention to the Pulsatilla species from the shop.

There are not many, but all are fresh of this year and this is the best time to sow!
See them here in the
Pulsatilla category.

I don’t have many pictures of these gorgeous species, reason why I have to show the seeds. I know they are not as attractive as the flowers but what can I do, and in any case, they can be used for ID purpose.

Pulsatilla albana ssp. armena – the Pulsatilla ‘seeds’ are actually fruits – achenes with “fluffy tails”.

Pulsatilla vernalis


A good idea is to admire pictures while also reading advice on their germination at the same time – all on the Scottish Rock Garden forum! This is the link to Pulsatilla 2013 thread, but there are more topics on Pulsatilla:
http://www.srgc.net/forum/index.php?topic=9988.0

Note: I’ve already sown my batch (I have to practice on this genus) and there are few leftover seeds of Pulsatilla alpina var. alpina, which will come attached as a gift to the first order containing other Pulsatillas.

Pulsatilla alpina ssp. alpina (large, white flowers)

 While talking Ranunculaceae seeds that need to be sown asap, I recommend to also have a look at  Adonis vernalis.

Adonis vernalis

Fridays Seeds and much more about the fuzzy wild bean – Strophostyles

I wanted something special for this arctic day and the woolly seeds of Strophostyles helvola are just perfect; I will stress again the woolly :)

Strophostyles helvola coiled pods and seeds

Strophostyles helvola, trailing wild bean (or amberique bean)  is an annual vine native to eastern Canada and the US; the pea-like flowers are light pink/lilac and they form pods very similar with those of Phaseolus vulgaris; the pod coils when it dries up to release 4-8 woolly  seeds.
The stems will trail on other plants, or if not, will inter-twine with each other on the ground, just like Amphicarpaea bracteata does (google images).

This species has had various medicinal uses for the Native Peoples, and there are also indications that the seeds were used as a food source; they were found in a few archeological sites in NA.

Those interested can read more about this in the curriculum of the Advanced Paleoethnobotany Seminar from Washington University: https://pages.wustl.edu/fritz/strophostyles-helvola-l.-elliot

And, while talking wild foods, it’s winter so new ideas are always welcomed – have a look at this article which recommends other edible species found on the coastal habitat (same where Strophostyles can also be found):

https://ncseagrant.ncsu.edu/coastwatch/previous-issues/2011-2/summer-2011/coastal-wild-edibles-stalking-the-wild-sea-lettuce/

What about: amberique-bean humus with cattails au gratin?
Go foraging this year! :))

Friday’s Seeds – more Caryophyllaceae

A few images recently added to the Caryophyllaceae page on the Seeds Library all species collected this summer in the Carpathian Mts. and Dobrogea region, Romania.
In general, species from Caryophyllaceae family are easy to grow from seeds and some (for example,  think Dianthus, Silene) may even flower in the first year.

Pictures with various Caryophyllaceae showing the habitats they grow in, will follow this weekend. Stay tuned, I’ve prepared many pictures – the time for winter getaways has come!

 

Cerastium alpinum ssp. lanatum- alpine mouse-ear

Gypsophila petraea

 

Silene compacta

 

 

Friday’s seed and plant portrait – Hypericum kalmianum

Having too many seeds makes it hard to choose which one to show/write about.
I am going the easy way with the last species uploaded to the shop – the Kalm’s St. John’s wort, a (sub)shrub native of the Great Lakes region in Canada and US.

Hypericum kalmianum seeds – Kalm’s St. John’s wort (Fam. Hypericaceae)

Cultivated to some extent, this Hypericum has narrow bluish-green leaves and cheerful, large golden flowers with extruded stamens in late summer; the capsules mature very late.
It is a showy, adaptable plant; evergreen (or partly) and as one can guess after its wild habitat, with excellent cold hardiness. Another attractive feature is the brown/reddish bark which peels off.

Lots of qualities!

The specific epithet honors Pehr Kalm, one of Linnaeus’ disciples ; an explorer, botanist and naturalist, he traveled to and lived for a while in North America in mid-17th , discovering and writing about plants, animals, insects, Niagara Falls, and in general about the life of American colonies at the time.

Another species that can be found with H. kalmianum, bearing the same name is Lobelia kalmii  shown in the gallery.
Days are short now so you can start to read more about Pehr in the wiki stub and then follow other links: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pehr_Kalm

Friday’s seeds – Echinops crispus

Besides the seeds, a sunny image with Echinops crispus (curly Echinops) on this bitterly cold day; the red flowers of Anthyllis might warm us up.

Echinops crispus and Anthyllis vulneraria var. coccinea in the background, early June 2017

I secretly watched this globe thistle evolve from a small seedling into a beautiful clump this year; too bad I was away just when at its most glorious time. The underside of leaves and the stems are covered with a thick pubescence (shown in the featured image), a perfect adaptation for the drought; grown from seeds collected in the southern Ural Mts. (Chelyabinsk region).

Echinops crispus, July 2017

 Like in many other species from Fam. Asteraceae, some of the fruits (achenes) are empty, thus careful selecting of the seeds is necessary.

Echinops crispus fruits and seeds

Echinops name from the Greek words ‘ekhinos’ = hedgehog, sea urchin and
‘ops’ = face, head (referring to the appearance of the inflorescences)

Friday’s Seeds and plant portrait – Amsonia hubrichtii

Honestly, I had no intention to write another post so soon, but plants need to be shown at their best moments. And, Amsonia hubrichtii, the Arkansas bluestar is absolutely radiant right now.

Amsonia hubrichtii in late fall

Depending how much sun receives it may also take a russet hue (notice the capsules).

I won’t wonder again about why is not cultivated more; the images speak for themselves. It is a foliage plant by definition, the thread- like leaves will combine beautifully with almost anything else; those who want more flowery display should plant other perennials close to it and let them complement/weave through the delicate foliage.

The flowers are pale blue, not very noticeable but a nice addition.

With Delphinium likiangense; probably larkspurs (Consolida regalis) would make for a nice combination as well.

Without thinking much, one year I planted Dahlia coccinea behind it; now it has become the rule.

The seeds are quite particular, like of other Amsonias (Fam. Apocynaceae); the fruits (capsules) can be spotted in one image above.

Amsonia hubrichtii seeds

PS. It is a bit late to emerge in the spring; planting a bunch of small spring bulbs & daffodils close to the clump will do the trick ;)

 

Friday’s Seed – Halloween edition

Anthirrhinum braun-blanquetii

Anthirrhinum braun-blanquetii capsules & seeds

The hardy snapdragon is a super easy plant to do from seeds: warm germinator and easy going seedlings. Started early it will flower in the first year, all summer long and late into fall (including right now).

Maybe I should pack some capsules and hand them out instead of candy? :) :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.