Sunday, October 18, 2009

More Seed Collection

Yesterday was one of those damp, cloudy days, but I needed to get out and collect some seed. I went out with bucket and bags and managed to have a good collecting day, despite the fact that the ten percent chance of rain sprinkled on me about every 30 minutes. Shown above is Blazing Star, Liatris scariosa. I guess it was a poor pollination year for this plant, because only about ten percent of what I collected was good seed.

Prairie Dock produced a lot of seed. It’s unusual for the finches to leave me enough to collect. The ray flowers of the Prairie Dock are the only part of the composite head to produce seeds. The seeds are the broad, flat objects arranged around the outside of the central disk.

Pale Indian Plantain, Cacalia atriplicifolia has some nice large seeds. This is an interesting plant that’s easy to grow from seed. Given minimal care, this plant can exceed six feet in height. The blooms are highly favored by wasps and attract a variety of species.

Tall Boneset produces huge masses of seeds. You don’t have to visit many plants to collect several thousand seeds.

I collect the entire Monarda seed head, let it dry completely and then shred it to release the tiny seeds.

The pods of the Wild Senna must be completely dried and then crushed to release the seed. I use a strainer to separate out the seed. A lot of seed is left in unbroken bits of the pod, so I save the debris and scatter it back out into the field.

False Gromwell has one of the neatest seeds around. These look like little jewels rolling around in the bottom of the collecting bucket. Seed characteristics are often used to identify species or varieties of plants. These seeds display a basal collar and surface pitting that distinguish the plant as Onosmodium molle var. hispidissimum.

Don’t assume that a green pod indicates unripe seeds. The tiny seeds of this Rose Pink are already spilling from the slight split in this pod. By the time the pod turns brown, most of the seeds will be gone.

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