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Irradiation, Peltandra and non-aroid seed

  • Subject: Irradiation, Peltandra and non-aroid seed
  • From: Steve Marak <samarak@arachne.uark.edu>
  • Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2001 23:54:49 -0500 (CDT)

As we'd expect, the possibility of the US postal service irradiating mail
and its potential effect on seeds and plants in that mail is popping up on
list after list, at least those which are botanically oriented.

I don't know the answer, and I suspect that the information about what
might be done is still so vague that no one else really does either. One
person on another list suggested that, based on numbers she had for doses
used to irradiate food for preservation versus doses used to induce
mutations in seeds, the required dose to kill bacteria was far less than
what seeds could survive. But it was an apples-to-oranges comparison both
in type of radiation and organism, and things vary wildly in how much
radiation they can tolerate. The classic example is the cockroach, which
is often touted as being able to take many times the equivalent of a human
lethal dose with no ill effects. (Of course, they can apparently tolerate
air pressures as low as the surface of Mars, too.)

Regarding Peltandra seeds, I can be more definitive, at least as to P.
virginica. I potted up a few that were germinating in the pods this
afternoon, and tossed the rest into the refridgerator. The berries are
indeed very dark green to purple-black on the exposed surface, often
shading into green farther "down" the berry (toward the attachment point).

I have a few extra, actually, and would be happy to send them to someone
who would like to try this very hardy aquatic (well, I collected them from
plants standing in several inches of slowly moving water; I don't know how
much less water they will tolerate). I probably have enough to send some
to 3 or 4 people, if that many are interested. (Please reply OFF LIST if
interested; it'll save me time. I've been told it is critical not to let
these dry out at all, so I'm cautious about mailing them out of the US.
But if you're sure your customs people won't care about them coming in
wet, I don't mind trying.)

I've not forgotten those of you I promised seeds of Magnolia tripetala and
Hedychium hasseltii. The hedychium did set several pods, more than
previously, and I'm waiting for them to ripen.

I've also got a couple of spare Sauromatum (Typhonium) venosum seed heads
which I'll be glad to send someone who doesn't mind cleaning them
themselves. As with the Peltandra, I suspect that limits sending them
outside the US, but if you tell me your sure it's OK where you live, I'll
be happy to try.


-- Steve Marak
-- samarak@arachne.uark.edu

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