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 Fresh seed. Important or insignificant?

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Number of posts : 139
Location : melbourne
Registration date : 2014-02-28

PostSubject: Fresh seed. Important or insignificant?   Sun Mar 09, 2014 3:37 pm

there is a common misconception about cacti seeds.

alot of people think that seeds are likely to have more succesfull germination rates if there fresh!!!

is a seed fresh?
is a seed alive?
is a seed a caterpillar attempting to coccoon and enjoy life as a butterfly?

and absolutly not.

seed germination rates alikend to fresh seeds is a hoax. seeds are just as viable many years after production as they were when first produced.

typicaly seed in cacti nature is born from flower into unfavourable germination viable enviromental conditions. some may wait a couple of seasons before conditions are right to germinate.

if this is the case real world why should we assume differant for our practices?

i have heard of people using ten year old seed with success.

i myself had very succesfull germination rates using seed over 5 yrs old...

i am thinking that seed kept out of light. away from moisture and in reasonable temps could last... indefinantly.

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Number of posts : 705
Location : FNQ
Registration date : 2012-12-11

PostSubject: Re: Fresh seed. Important or insignificant?   Sun Mar 09, 2014 11:13 pm

Whilst this is true to some extent, species, is a far more important factor. All species produce seed with certain genetic triggers that are activated by time and environmental conditions. Whilst some species absolutely require fresh seeds others have, what we in the seed industry call, 'hard seed'. This is seed that is dormant. Only the passage of time and weathering of the seed husk can bring about germination. On a standard seed germination test a single batch may register a germination result of 20% but have a hard seed count of well over 60%. This does not mean that only 20% will germ. It means that 80% will germ but over the course of many years. Sometimes when dealing with difficult seeds one can scarify the seed husk to break the dormancy. This technique is very risky as bathing seed in acid for the right amount of time at the right strength is difficult to do.

There is very little information on which species are prone to dormancy and which require fresh seed. Considering this factor fresh is always best as there is always a small percentage of seed that is ready to germinate the moment it is released. Until some one does the research no one could look at a batch of seed and confidently claim that they should be planted straight away or in 2 years time.

Sneakiest Cephalopod
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Number of posts : 599
Location : Australia
Registration date : 2009-09-15

PostSubject: Re: Fresh seed. Important or insignificant?   Mon Mar 10, 2014 4:54 pm

Have to disagree - For the most part, if the seed is fresh, and is given the right conditions the germination rates are usually spectacularly high.

Also if the seed is fresh, there is less likelihood that poor storage conditions have had a chance to affect the seed.

Some Genera also have a very short shelf life and are very quick to germinate - ie Fraileas Astrophytum etc, however this viability doesn't last as long as some other genera.

I know that I always get much better germination rates from my own freshly collected seed than I do from just about any older seed, bought or my own.

Certain species seem to have inhibitors that stop them from germinating for a few years and others retain the ability to germinate for many years down the track, but it varies from species to species. I recently sowed field collected Copiapoa seed and Eriosyce seed that is near 7 years old. Very little of the Copiapoa came up, but the Eriosyce came up like weeds!

Personally I'd much prefer known fresh seed every time, it's one less variable to worry about....
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Calm and Collected

Number of posts : 268
Location : Melbourne
Registration date : 2009-03-14

PostSubject: Re: Fresh seed. Important or insignificant?   Mon Mar 10, 2014 8:38 pm

I totally agree with Navajoa's comments above. Fresh seed is heaps better in the vast majority of cases and you really see this when you sow seeds the you collect yourself. Sure there are some species that seeds remain viable for a long time, I had lithops seed that was nearly 20years old germinate at near 100%. And there are also exceptions that require after ripening to break dormancy but they are few and far between. I have an Echinocereus that fresh seeds won't germinate but after a year or more of storage they come up no worries. In most cases I'm with Navajoa in that I would prefer fresh, that way if I suspect after ripening is required I'll just hold onto it for a while before sowing.
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