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Friday - August 08, 2008

From: Holtwood, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Propagation
Title: Trillium seed collection
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I am interested in propagating trillium from seeds. When are the seeds ready to be harvested? I removed day lily pods prom the plants and then found out I had picked them too early


I am not sure which Trillium you are interested in growing. There are nine that are native to Pennsylvania:

Trillium cernuum (whip-poor-will flower)

Trillium cuneatum (little sweet Betsy)

Trillium erectum (red trillium)

Trillium flexipes (nodding wakerobin)

Trillium grandiflorum (white trillium)

Trillium nivale (snow trillium)

Trillium recurvatum (bloody butcher)

Trillium sessile (toadshade)

Trillium undulatum (painted trillium)

If you will read the information under "Propagation" for Trillium grandiflorum (white trillium), it says:

"Seeds mature within 5-6 weeks after the plant flowers. They are ready to collect when they are dark or beginning to darken. Store for short periods only by packing the whole berry in moist sphagnum sealed in a refrigerated container."

This advice should hold true for all Trillium spp. seeds. You want them to be mature before you remove them from the plant. Indeed, that is generally true for all seed collection. Watch the plants and when you see that the berries are beginning to split and release their seed, that is the time to collect.

Tom Clothier's Perennial Seed Germination Database says that Trillium seeds should be sown immediately outdoors since they have short viability.

Trillium cernuum

Trillium cuneatum

Trillium erectum

Trillium flexipes

Trillium sessile

Trillium undulatum

Trillium grandiflorum




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