Old Lily Seeds

Joyce Miller Miller7398@comcast.net
Sat, 17 Mar 2007 18:47:29 PDT
Dear Ken and All,

         Indeed, viability of old seed is quite a fascinating subject 
in itself.

         A number of years ago the Sacramento, California Chapter of 
the The California Native Plant Society, gave a multi-speaker program 
on restoring a wetland area near Davis, California, a research 
project studying the effects of different plantings on flood erosion 
control on the American River and converting a small park east of 
Sacramento to a Native Plant habitat.  The latter speaker related his 
experience with wild flower viability.  In one part of the park, a 
small area was graded preparatory to planting.  Over the winter, 
prior to the spring seeding, many many wild flower seeds germinated 
that apparently had been dormant under the prior discarded soil.

         Here is another example of the viability of some 
seed.  Several years ago my sister in Bend, Oregon, accepted a 
friend's offer to rototill her vegetable garden where she had been 
growing for several years.  Subsequently, she found her garden thick 
with the Common Purslane (Portulaca oleracea).  She tried everything 
she knew to do to eliminate the weed from hand pulling, hoeing (a 
more efficient way to make cuttings of the little demon) to 
glysophate.  She said she would no sooner clear the area than another 
set of weeds emerged.  When I recently completed Master Gardener 
training, I was able to verify her theory that her neighbor's 
generous deed had been responsible.  One Common purslane plant is 
capable of producing 53,400 seeds that have a potential viability of 30 years.

Kind regards,  Joyce Miller
Gresham, Oregon Zone 7 

More information about the pbs mailing list