seed storage
Sat, 04 Jan 2014 13:13:21 PST

I think that refrigeration is a great way to store seeds, although it may be true that some benefit from a period of warmth for afteripening purposes.  The reasons to refrigerate seed are many besides not getting around to planting them fast.  I have stored seed of plants that I and others have lost, a perfect example is Pychnostachys dawei, which Logees used to carry.  I had some plants from them years ago when I worked at NYBG, they were virused, and I got some seed off them and stored it.  Lo and behold, Logees no longer carries it, and the folks at Wave Hill were asking me about it one day and I got my refrigerated seed and grew out some (the three resulting plants were virus free, at NYBG I often cleaned up bulbous plants they had by saving seed and growing out fresh stock) about 15 years later, and now Wave Hill has plants and uses it in their winter flowering plant display in their conservatory.  As far as I know this species is not in cultivation anywhere in the USA, 
 though it might be in Europe.  And it would be no easy task to go back to central Africa to get propagation material, might not even be possible with the biodiversity treaties, etc.  Having backup seed in the fridge is a way to protect against loss, you never know when some rare plant is no longer available because the vendor is no longer in business,  a freak weather event wipes them out, etc.  Imagine if somebody had saved seeds of the various beautiful colored forms (red, yellow, etc) of Phlox mesoleuca, they are nearly all gone as far as I know, and I've been told they were grown commercially in some quantity before they suddenly disappeared, and I think the site they were collected from in Mexico is now a developed area.  True neither is a geophyte, but my point remains the same.  
Ernie DeMarie
Briarcliff Manor, NY
low temp last night was 4F, not -5 as they once predicted, but its still too cold and more is coming next week.  Will the Crinum bulbispermums I set out last summer make it?  Have to wait months to find out. 

 "I store all my seeds (in Los Angeles) at room temperature until the appropriate season arrives - including those from overseas - with good results. Refrigeration is a crutch for those with limited time or space, and shouldn't concern those people who can sow their seeds within 12 months of receipt, assuming fresh supply (that is anther question). Seeds that I might store for 10 years? - well, they should either be thrown out into the yard or given away,  since they are clearly of no importance!" 

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