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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - October 28, 2005

From: Winigan, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Storing seed from Pickerel weed
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Michael Eason

QUESTION:

What's the best method to store seed from Pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata) and Arrowhead (Sagattaria latifolia)? Should it be kept wet?

ANSWER:

Our seed expert at the Wildflower Center who works with the Millennium Seed Bank Project says:

"Both are orthodox seeds, which means they can be frozen for long term storage. However, they must be dried prior to freezing (if there is too much water in the seed when they are frozen the freezing process will kill the seed). Bet bet (cheapest) - place a bed of rice in a glass jar, then place the seeds in a paper bag/envelope on top of the bed of rice. The rice will absorb the extra water in the air space, keeping the seeds moisture content a bit lower."

If you want to store them for only a brief time, then they should be spread out to dry on absorbent paper with adequate air circulation above and below them (e.g., put them on paper towels or newspaper on a some sort of rack). When dry, store them in paper (not plastic) bags until ready to plant them.
 

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