Short viability in Fritillaria seed

Jane McGary
Sat, 14 Nov 2009 09:36:53 PST
The current BX is offering seed of Fritillaria camtschatcensis from 
Alaska. This is one of the species in that genus whose seeds lose 
their viability quickly after ripening, so anyone who gets some 
should plant it immediately and hope it hasn't been stored too long. 
Bulblets ("rice grains") are a more reliable method of propagation 
and I'll try to send some to the BX next year.

The same is true of Fritillaria meleagris, unfortunately. It produces 
a great deal of seed, but unless this is sown fresh, it is unlikely 
to germinate. Commonly grown, it appears in seed exchanges all the 
time, but it's a waste of effort to process, distribute, and sow.

I suspect that the same is true of the East Asian moist-growing 
fritillarias in general, which I've never been able to grow from seed 
obtained from exchanges or sellers. I do have the lovely little F. 
cirrhosa, germinated after several failures; it is a high alpine. F. 
cam., like F. meleagris, is a plant of moist situations, and their 
bulbs should not be allowed to get dry.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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