Arctostaphylos seed

Wed, 12 Nov 2014 09:33:46 PST

>I have read that seeds of Arctostaphylos germinate better when given fire 
>treatment. We have native Arctostaphylos and Ceanothus species which seem 
>to sprout up where there was a fire, either >someone's burnt leaf pile or 
>otherwise. The dried berries, as opposed to the cleaned seeds may germ 
>better after being shipped overseas.

The nutlets of Arctostaphylos have a periole plugged with a wax-like 
substance which needs to be removed prior to germination; heating by fire 
doesn't always do this. The "simplest" method is to remove the plug (I use a 
dental pick) and then stratify until the seed germinates, in 500 years.
I was able to germinate one seed of A. pringlei last year.

>Does anyone know of bulb seeds that require fire?

A better word than "require" might be "utilize". Seeds of many species said 
to "require" fire can be germinated by cold, if the seeds are cold hardy. 
Non-bulbous examples are Romneya coulteri and Fremontodendron californicum.
There may very well be a difference in the hardiness of a seed versus the 
hardiness of a bulb. Most cold-hardy bulbs are only hardy to about 10 
degrees (-12C), if even that, but the seeds appear to be much hardier to 
So, seeds sown in a pot and left outdoors in a place where no living 
creature wants to go outside (here, today) might be perfectly hardy and 
germinate the following spring, but a bulb in the same pot would be dead as 
of today.

Bob Nold
Denver, Colorado

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