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Mr. Smarty Plants - Long term storam of Lupinus arboreus seeds

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Saturday - July 21, 2007

From: Berkeley, CA
Region: California
Topic: Propagation
Title: Long term storam of Lupinus arboreus seeds
Answered by: Michael Eason and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi - I was wondering what the best way to store lupine seeds (for long-term storage and maximum viability) is? I am a graduate student at Berkeley studying Lupinus arboreus. We have been storing seeds collected from the wild in coin envelopes at room temperature, but have had problems with viability. Do you have any advice? Thanks.

ANSWER:

1. Collect seeds as close to natural dispersal as possible.

2. Remove any excess vegetative material (leaves, flower parts etc.) and place in a coin (paper) envelope.

3. Place the envelope in a sealed container with desiccatant and a hygrometer. (Put the dessicant at the bottom of the dessicator and not directly touching the envelope—you may want to put a piece of perforated cardboard between the dessicant and the envelopes.) You will want to lower the RH to ~15%. Use about equal parts desiccant to seed by volume. (If too much desiccant is used, the seeds will lose too much moisture and will not be viable.) The seeds will equilibrate to the surrounding RH, but this may take a few days depending on the amount of seeds.

4. For long term storage, once the seeds have equilibrated to the surrounding RH (15%) the best strategy is to store them in heat sealed aluminum envelopes and then place the envelopes in cold storage (< 0 degrees C). Of course, the transfer of seed from desiccator to the foil bag will have to occur quickly (and ideally in a dry room, RH = <20%) because the seed will begin to absorb moisture once removed from the dessicator.

The Seed Information Database of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, England has further information about Lupinus arboreus (yellow bush lupine) seeds.

You realize, of course, that the Lupinus genus does have germination issues because of the hard, virtually impermeable, seed coat. The seeds may have to be scarified to successfully germinate. You may also need to inoculate the seeds with Rhizobium bacteria prior to sowing them.

 

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