Re: HYB:CULT: let's talk about seeds baby...
As to the white seeds in pods that are splitting. You may all remember
that a few weeks back I mentioned that my Son had picked a bunch of pods
and the seeds were starting to turn brown. These pods had not started to
split open yet, but they were getting close, and they did lay in the sun
drying out on their sides for a while. Most of these went ahead and split
open a few days later, or just dried up (that is the ones I didn't open
myself), and the seeds all seemed to be fine. Not sure if it oxygen,
getting cut off from "Mother's milk", drying, or what that causes the
browning to start, but it does seem to be a last minute thing.
I have been pretty unobservant in past years when it comes to Iris seeds,
never really looked even when I was picking the fruits (aways just threw
them in a bag and forgot them for a while). So, this is the first year
that I noticed that they were still white when the pods started to split.
I was pretty amazed too! In most monocots with dehiscent pods (in fact in
most plant fruits) the seeds are ripe some time before the fruit ripens,
and they darken at that time (if they are going to darken that is).
I peeled open about a dozen pods yesterday that were just starting to
split, and emptied the plump, soft white seeds (some of the top seeds had a
touch of color) into paper envelops. I am looking at them right now, and
envelops are damp where they are touching the seeds (mind you the humidity
here is probably under 10% right now), so moisture is actually leaving the
seeds. The seeds from 'Eleanor Roosevelt', 'Mexicana', and some assorted
I. variegata type MTB's are all dark brown and wrinkled now. Those from
three clones of I. pallida, from 'Mexicana', and from a late smallish
yellow (sort of like a darker yellow 'Flavescens') show varying degrees of
change in all the envelops, from unchanged all the way to dark shrunken and
wrinkled. An unidentified clone of I. germanica has seeds plump, round,
smooth, and light brown. I suspect that envelops with just a few seeds
dried and turned brown faster largely because there was less moisture in
the envelop? The I. germanica envelop has a few hundred seeds, while the
'Mexicana' envelop only has three. I suspect that the seeds from the
diploids dry and turn color faster than those of many of the tetraploids
too. BUT, this is a very limited sampling.
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