Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Seedy times

There is ripening seed all over the neighbourhood, and lately I have gotten in the habit of carrying around safety scissors and Ziploc sandwich bag to collect samples.

To collect seed from late season aster-like plants (100-0592 and 100-0670100-0360 not shown) flowers were snipped and put in water. As the flowers slowly fade, dandelion-like seed heads develop. Eventually the fluffy seeds drift onto styrofoam fruit trays placed beneath them.

This technique doesn't appear to be working for these pretty flowers (100-0588), though; no seed heads appear to develop as the flowers fade. It's a shame, as I rather like them. Maybe because they aren't asters; I'll have to do some research. In the meantime, anyone want to hazard a guess?

I found some flowers that I thought might be feverfew (100-0590) but some Googling has put some doubt in my mind. If not, then what? Whatever they are, I can't get enough of the delicate spiderwebs cradling the seeds.

The find of last Saturday (100-0660) was a collection of intriguing seed pods from a plant in front of a recently abandoned building. From browsing through The Seed Site, my initial guess is that the plant could be some kind of iris or other plant that grows from bulbs.

The plant itself had long, narrow swordlike leaves, with a single stem growing to 3 or 4 feet with two or three seed pods at the end. Dry leaves were golden in colour, while the stems and pods were dark brown.

The pods themselves are elongated footballs, woody, and require some force to pry apart. The seed pods are not closed; some are open enough that you can pour out the seeds. Base of the pods had black, raised speckles. Not sure if this is due to disease or just the normal appearance of the plant.

Inside the pods are many irregular disc-shaped seeds that rattle around in the pods.

Some Googling has led me to believe that they are indeed iris seeds (flickr pic).

Sadly, germination is said to be difficult and erratic, and whatever emerges, according to another site, won't appear like its parent. My seeds don't look very fat either ... are there sterile cultivars?

Finally, this gentle houseguest drifted onto my balcony screen door one sunny afternoon. Sadly, I seem to have misplaced it, so I'll never know what it was or will be.

1 comment:

  1. I have the same "football" shaped seed pods- they are from my Siberian iris. I have always divided the iris to increase its numbers and so I can not speak to how viable the seeds you have will be. Spring will have to tell the tale.