Lily family seeds

Kathleen Sayce
Sun, 12 Jul 2009 19:52:30 PDT
I'm curious about the production of viable seeds among members of the  
lily family.
Some weeks ago the topic of sorting viable seeds from nonviable seeds  
in Lilium came up, if memory serves. (Sorry, I did not go back to  
check PBS archives). Keeping this in mind, when I was cleaning tulip  
and Erythronium seeds today, I noticed that the tulip seeds in the  
first lot sorted out into 3 groups: Light-colored seeds often  
misshapen, and always light brown to clear (56%); brown seeds with a  
lighter interior (37 percent); brown seeds with a tiny straight dark  
line near the more acutely pointed end (7 percent).
Is this a typical ratio for viable seeds? I know there must be  
climatic variations; I am not gardening in anything like the original  
climate for this particular species, Tulipa sylvestris, and expect  
less viable seed as a result.
I also had Erythronium oreganum seeds, thanks to Dave Brastow, and  
found 41 plump dark seeds in one pod, and one pod of Tulipa  
vvedenskyi, out of which came 2 dark seeds, no sign of an embryo, and  
hundreds of pale, thin, empty seeds. I have 4 pods of later flowering  
Tulipa clusiana drying now. Deer got the rest this year.
In cloudy, rainy SW Washington.

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