Saturday, June 5, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Pediocactus simpsonii v minor seed harvesting

The Pediocactus var minor seed pods became ripe about four days ago. They have to be gathered as soon as they are ripe or the pods will start letting the seeds out, which makes them very hard to collect. The seeds tend to fall down the sides of the plants and hide in the network of spines at the base of the plants. Once the seeds are trapped at the base of the plant they are impossible to remove without harming the cactus.

Another difficulty is that the pods need to stay on the plants and removing the whole pod can cause serious damage to the stem of the Pedio. The pods need to be gently split open and the seeds picked out of the pod a few at a time with tweezers. A few weeks later the empty seed pods will dry and fall of the plants without damaging their skin. If the plant is damaged by removing a seed pod the resulting injury can become infected and the whole plant will die.

It took me over three hours to remove seeds from less than twenty plants. Picking the seeds out of the seed pods is tricky because they tend to slip away while I'm trying to grasp them. I am storing the seeds in the frig. and hope to plant them later this summer.


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