Thursday Seedex with Asteraceae

I’m late with preparing the seedex donations; just sent a small one to the SCRG and since the local mail doesn’t take long, I’ll pack a few more for ORG & HP Society this weekend.

It’s not easy to decide what to give; I always start to think what would be more attractive from what I have surplus, then some need more cleaning than others, and so on…Speaking of cleaning, nothing is more disappointing than receiving the wonderful little packets only to find inside ‘not so good seeds’, or just parts of them (it happened a few times).

Special attention is needed to all species in Fam. Asteraceae because by as a rule some of the seeds are always empty and it is not always easy to see which ones with the naked eye; a strong hand lens is necessary.

For example, let’s look at Anthemis carpatica ssp. pyrethriformis I just prepared for ORGS & HP. This subspecies, endemic to Eastern Carpathian Mts., while bearing the same large flowers is smaller in size than the regular A. carpatica.
It is super easy to grow from seeds (warm germinator) and is a good plant for any rockery (attention when planting the grown seedlings in the garden – they need very good drainage). The seedlings shown are from a previous seed collection I did few years ago.

Anthemis carpatica ssp. pyrethriformis seeds

and the non viable ‘seeds’

Anthemis carpatica ssp. pyrethriformis – non-viable seeds; when shown already separated, it seems easy to distinguish them but actually I had to use a x 40 hand lens to do it!

Another Asteraceae donated to both SRGC and ORG & HP – Jurinea mollis seeds are shown in the featured image.

Two years in a row, instead of seeds I found in the seedex packets just the pappus of a dwarf Jurinea species (from AGS Seedex).
This is how Jurinea seeds look like, with variations depending on the species and the moment when the seeds were collected (the pappus can be reduced in size or it may have fallen out).

Jurinea mollis seeds

6 replies
  1. Amy Olmsted
    Amy Olmsted says:

    I just send my SRGC and NARGS seeds today! Hope they get there in time. It’s always so frustrating when seeds are carefully harvested, saved until cleaning and then find they aren’t fertile.

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Yes Amy, but in case of any Asteraceae it is actually not frustrating because is known in advance that some won’t be good. It is just impossible to separate them at collection time
      (especially when done in the wild).

  2. Carol Clark
    Carol Clark says:

    Sometimes, as we package donated seeds at ORG&HPS, we encounter problems in distinguishing the seed from chaff and general debris which sometimes is sent with seeds. Your photos of good seeds are a really valuable resource. Thanks for sharing your expertise.

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      I wanted to raise, once again, the problem of cleaning the seeds before donating to Seedex. And I also mentioned it in few other occasions that this is a task to be
      done by the donors! not the packing team, which doesn’t have time to do it (and actually they are supposed to pack seeds not clean them).

  3. Sharon
    Sharon says:

    It is also frustrating with synonyms especially with Anthemis in the Plant List! Seems A. carpatica ssp. pyrethriformis is a synonym (maybe) of A. cretica ssp. pyrethriformis?
    Yes, sorting out the viable looking seeds is time consuming. Using a gentle fingernail poke will sort out the most likely full and viable seed when a magnifying lens isn’t available!

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Dear Sharon – I don’t want to start here a discussion about The Plant List – this was done few times on the SRGC forum. It is just a compiled list from various floras, and with
      great flaws. Floras of the countries where the species in discussion are coming from – are the ‘go to’ sources for the names.
      In no case A. carpatica spp. or varieties are syn. of A. cretica!
      And yes, thank you, I know the poking method and I used it when possible but not always works.

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