Something amazing - at least to me

Jim McKenney
Thu, 22 Oct 2009 07:01:40 PDT
In September 2006 I received several lots of hardy cyclamen seed. I gave the seed my usual treatment - it was soaked overnight to plump it, then it was blotted and placed in zip lock plastic bags which were then placed in the refrigerator. My intention was to plant it within a week or two, but things got busy and that didn't happen. The seed was taken out and examined now and then over the years, and eventually any visible sign of moisture disappeared. Some of the seed began to shrivel.

I've spent the last two weeks in the garden preparing new cold frames for seed sowing. Once the priority items had been sown, I turned to some of the material languishing in the refrigerator - among them, that three-year-old cyclamen seed. I sowed most of this, more out of curiosity than anything else.

Last night, only a week after that season 2006 seed was sown, two have germinated! I couldn't believe my eyes, but there they were, little protocorms attached by a thread to the seed itself. I can't rule out that they were there when the seed was sown - that they were there in a much reduced form attached to the seed - and became hydrated and swollen when the pots were watered. . But I doubt that because I handled each seed as I sowed it and would have noticed anything which seemed soft and characteristic of new growth (in particular because I was looking for signs of mold).  

This little event is very surprising to me, especially since lots of season 2009 cyclamen seed sown at the same time (and also given the soak-blot-refrigerator treatment) has yet to show any signs of germination. 

It's not as if I don't have a lot of other things to keep me busy (such as admiring the nice variety of autumn crocuses now blooming), but now it's going to be hard to keep away from the cold frames and all of those cyclamen seeds. 

Jim McKenney

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