Breaking the tradition – Medeola virginiana germination

More updates on germination requirements

It seems that Medeola virginiana seeds don’t follow the traditional double morphophysiological dormancy (MPD). Unlike most species with this type of dormancy, which require a cold-warm-cold cycle to germinate and produce roots in the warm period (2 years seeds), M. virginiana seeds do not form a root during this time; instead, root and cotyledon emerge at the same time in the second spring after sowing.

Medeola virginiana seedlings; seeds sown fall 2015 – germination spring 2017

Speculations are that this sort of germination pattern may represent a transition towards a type of more complex MPD.
Or is it sorcery involved ? ;-)

OK, the practical meaning of all this: be patient and don’t scratch the pots looking for tiny roots in the first year.

For me: I could keep the seeds in moist storage until the second spring, if I would have that many…

Note: again, we are talking here about sown fresh/moist kept seeds.

Alien vs. Predators – Aquilegia scopulorum

When in bud, the long spurred Aquilegia species bring visions of ‘Aliens’ waiting to ambush the ‘Predators’ :-)

Aquilegia scopulorum

Two years ago I lost A. scopulorum I had from Wrightman Alpines; don’t know if because I transplanted it or it was short lived, but luckily I collected a few seeds. The seedlings are just about to flower, and well, maybe they won’t be entirely true to species, but they look very close. I also obtained two variegated seedlings which I hoped in vain will revert to green. I’m not very fond on variegated foliage and so my question is: to keep or not to keep? – that’s a hard one…

Aquilegia scopulorum variegated seedling

Meanwhile, I hope the Predators won’t show up at night….I love my Aliens. I will post an image with the fully open flower in a couple of days.

Thanks to the heat wave, it opened fast – so here it is, the very image of its ‘mama’ :))

Aquilegia scopulorum

Hello Sunshine!

Saruma henryi starting to flower; a super easy plant to grow

Back to basics – Aquilegia

Most probably the first plant I grew successfully from seeds (that is, which I saw it flowering :) was an Aquilegia. I don’t remember precisely which one and it doesn’t matter; I like them all very much. They are easy to grow, provide a whole array of heights/colours and are good pollinator plants.

Yes, some are short lived, and yes, some will get the leaf miner, and of course, they hybridize and not all seedlings come true to the mother plant, but I still like them very much.

After being transplanted (a few times) last year, a few of my Aquilegias went into a ‘flower strike‘. I apologized for the treatment and we reconciled…

Aquilegia flabellata var. pumila – is one with few of the above mentioned flaws: it usually comes true from seeds, and the thick, leathery foliage won’t be affected by the leaf miner (or very weak attack); all ‘flabellatas’ could be grown just for their handsome, fan-shaped foliage.

Aquilegia flabellata var.pumila – Cute as a ‘button’ ; grown from seeds

 

A. flabelata ‘Nana Alba’ will be flowering soon…

 

Lost in translation – updates on germination requirements

Slowly, as I have the chance to try more species myself, and/or find reliable info, I work on making updates for the germination requirements on the Seeds shop. I already mentioned about Sanguinaria canadensis.

It is easy to ‘get lost in translation’ when reading about various types of morphophysiological dormancies, but a short summary for species from temperate regions that require warm/cold cycle for germination will be as follows:

This dormancy breaking requirement is naturally fulfilled by summer (high temperatures) followed by fall (lower warm temperatures) and winter (cold stratification). Note the need of high followed by low(er) warm temperatures.

Because of the collecting/shop logistics and peoples habit of buying seeds in late fall, this means that such species, when sowed in late fall/winter will need the whole next season to undergo these requirements, although otherwise they would not qualify in the ‘2 year germinators’ category.
So it goes: changed from require ‘cold stratification’ to ‘warm – cold stratification’:

Hydrophyllum virginianum
Hydrophyllum canadense
Aralia racemosa
Prosartes lanuginosa (moist packed seeds available this fall I hope)
Ilex verticillata

Hydrophyllum virginianum seedlings, seed sown fall 2015, too late for the warm treatment, germinated this spring (2017)

Prosartes lanuginosa: seeds sown after collecting in early September 2016 – germination right now (I only had about 9 seeds)

Other warm/cold germinators that we already know about and I already posted pictures (many require moist storage): most Corydalis, Allium tricoccum, Asarum canadense and europaeum, Saruma, Anemone quinquefolia and A. nemorosa, Dicentra (D. formosa in the featured image), Thalictrum thalictroides, Jeffersonia, Hepatica….

Corydalis nobilis seedlings

What’s with the farina?

Primula gemmifera var. amoena

Ever wondered about the farina that many Primula species develop on the leaves, stems, buds, flowers?

I haven’t until I started to observe the tiny seedlings of P. gemmifera var. amoena (syn. Primula zambalensis) starting to get covered with the white ‘stuff’.  Being the only Primula I grew this year from seeds, maybe I looked more often at it.

Of course, others have preoccupied themselves with the subject a long ago. It seems that about half of the Primula species bear minute glandular hairs (see in the image the small dots on the leaves) which secrete the white (or yellow) powder called ‘farina’. It is actually a wax-like material mixed with flavonoids, in most cases.

Primula gemmifera var. amoena seedlings showing glandular hairs starting to secrete the farina

It has taxonomic significance and it was used to define sections in the genus Primula, but otherwise it is considered of no use to the plants being in fact just a ‘waste’ product eliminated from the plant cells through the secretory hairs.

Looking at it from the gardener’s perspective it is of great use though – think about how much it enhances the beauty of all farinose Primula species! Next year I hope to show the flowers of this Primula which grows on stony moist  slopes of NW Yunnan and SW Sichuan; they are said to be lilac- blue and deliciously scented!

Primula gemmifera var. amoena seedlings

Simplicity – Geum triflorum

Easy to grow in the garden and from seeds, this North American Geum is an absolute a delight!  An unpretentious, care free plant in most locations; sun and good drainage required. Best when planted in large numbers for the ‘smoky’ effect of the feathery seed heads (Prairie Smoke ;) in the summer.

Geum triflorum – Prairie Smoke, Old Man’s wiskers; rosy-red, nodding calyces/flowers, followed by feathery seed heads; the compact, ferny looking foliage will become reddish in the fall.

Propagation from seeds: I did a whole bunch last year – sown in the fall and left outside (cold/moist stratification) and the germination was excellent; I planted the seedlings in the garden by late fall.
The grown up clumps can be easily divided every few years.

Note: Other sources indicate sowing at warm.

Geum triflorum seeds head

The thing about Sanguinaria

…is that the seeds can have two types of morphophysiological dormancy (after Baskin & Baskin):

  • In the first case the roots will emerge in late fall after a warm stratification and the shoots growth will begin in the following spring (= after cold stratification); deep simple epicotyl dormancy.

Sanguinaria canadensis: seeds sown in summer 2016 – complete germination April 2017

  • In the second case (said to occur in about 49% of seeds according to a study), the shoots growth will begin in the second spring after sowing; deep simple double dormancy.

Sanguinaria canadensis: seeds sown in late summer 2015 – complete germination in 2017

The lots of seeds shown were collected from different sites, and I wonder if this was also a decisive/only factor in displaying the different types of dormancy. It is well known that the germination dormancy traits have a genetic component.

Temperatures in the summer/winter may also have role; to be sure I will try to repeat the sowing with seeds of both populations/at the same time. It would be nice to know and collect seeds from certain populations knowing they will germinate in the first year after sowing.

Note: To be clear, for Sanguinaria we are only talking about fresh/or moist kept seeds.

 

It’s Corydalis time!

To say I like Corydalis very much would be an understatement. The delicate, ferny foliage and early, colourful flowering of many species, make them wonderful spring harbingers.
Quite a few tuberous species are easy to grow in the garden in our cold climate (I usually don’t fuss around with pots, except for seedlings): C. solida especially, but also C. caucasica, C. packozy, C. cava, C. bracteata and probably few others.

Corydalis solida seedlings

Corydalis paczosky seedlings

The same applies for rhizomatous species like C. nobilis, the Pseudofumaria group (formerly C. lutea and C. alba), C. ophiocarpa, C. incisa; also the North American Capnoides sempervirens.

Corydalis nobilis seedlings

Corydalis incisa and C. ophiocarpa which were grown under lights are already advanced.

I agree it is much easier to buy plants (if available), but for a fast increase of the personal collection, growing from seeds is the better option, not to mention cheaper. They germinate very well if sown fresh or after moist storage. Sowing asap and keeping the pots outdoors (i.e., a warm/cold treatment) is the best option (by asap I don’t mean next day, the seeds sown up to about a month after collecting are OK even if not kept moist).
All you have to do is sow, cover the pots/trays with a mesh and keep them in a partly shaded area; water once in a while. For the winter, place in an area that usually gets covered in snow (or where it is easy to pile snow on top) or a cold garage. By spring they will start to germinate.

For the more adventurous there is also the option on sowing the seeds directly in the garden, reproducing their natural way of multiplying; the seeds are dispersed and buried by ants which feed on the elaiosomes, for which reason, in time they will show up in various places around the garden.

Same applies for Claytonia or any of the other spring flowering species that are best sown fresh: Dicentra, Hepatica, Erythronium, Anemone quinquefolia, Sanguinaria and so on – more about all these soon…

See more Corydalis pictures below in the related posts.

Stress relief – Rhodiola sachalinensis

Nothing is better for stress relief than sowing or transplanting seedlings. More than this, I had the perfect seedlings for the purpose – of Rhodiola sachalinensis.

Rhodiola sachalinensis and other Rhodiola species, particularly R. rosea, have long been used as traditional medicinal plants in Asia and Eastern Europe for various ailments, and they have been categorized as adaptogen plants, similar to the better known ginseng species. Besides this, they make for excellent rock garden plants.

Rhodiola sachalinensis grows wild in the mountainous regions of China, Japan, Korea and Russia (Altai region). Unfortunately, it is a dioecious species and the ones that survived from a batch of seedlings started 2 years ago, turned out to be all male plants at flowering.

So, I sowed a few more seeds and I will keep all the transplanted seedlings hoping that at least one will be female. Some were a bit more robust and already showed the nice, thickened caudex; I couldn’t abstain taking a picture:

Rhodiola sachalinensis seedlings

Rhodiola semenovii will have to wait to be sown next year, and I don’t have a picture of it, but here it is Rhodiola rosea in its wild habitat (Carpathian Mts.)

Rhodiola rosea