Lily family seeds

Jane McGary
Mon, 13 Jul 2009 09:03:23 PDT
Fred asked,

>I too have a question on the viability of lily family seeds. This 
>spring my Fritillaria Raddeana put up quite a large candelabra of 
>seeds which I harvested last week. I want to share them with the 
>group but I don't want to send duds. Since I never harvested seeds 
>from this species before, I really don't know what I'm looking for. 
>How does one tell if they're viable?

Fritillaria seeds are very easily sorted into viable and nonviable, 
even if you can't tell the difference visually. Put them in a dish 
about  2 inches deep, with straight sides (I have a set of porcelain 
dishes sold as "chili bowls" that are perfect for this), stand 
outside, and blow very gently on the seeds. The duds will easily take 
flight out of the bowl, while the good ones remain inside because 
they're heavier.

Fritillaria raddeana produces large, heavy seeds. They are so thick 
that it may not be possible to see the embryos. Some other species 
produce smaller, lighter seeds that require more delicate sorting.

I don't have any Fritillaria seeds this year, despite having been 
able to harvest more than 60 kinds last year, because rabbits got 
into my bulb frames and ate all the flowering stems of this genus and 
a few others, notably Calochortus. However, the bulbs seem fine, and 
next year I'll screen off the openings of the frames in fall to 
prevent this disaster. The plants have only one more season to get 
through before we all move to a rabbit- and deer-free place! The move 
will be a huge job, but I look forward to enjoying my bulbs in relative peace.

Anybody want to buy ten acres with house, flora -- and fauna?

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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