Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - February 20, 2015

From: Terlingua, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Seeds and Seeding
Title: Germination of seeds of Stephanomeria pauciflora (Brownplume wire lettuce)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have discovered a very fast growing Stephanomeria pauciflora on property where I work here in Terlingua, TX. At first glance it appears as an invasive weed but on closer inspection with my macro lens, it has a most beautiful tiny bloom. I have collected quite a few of the seeds or achenes to attempt to propagate them. After several attempts at soaking, growth hormone application, humidity controlled etc I have not had any success. Do you know of any successful examples or techniques of wire lettuce propagation? Thank you.

ANSWER:

Information from Wilderness Net in Appendix B.  Propagation and Establishment Required for Selected Plant Species on p.317 (the publication's name that this Appendix comes from is not given) gives the germination code for Stephanomeria pauciflora (Brownplume wirelettuce) as "1".  This isn't very helpful since the Key to Propagation Methods list on p.263 in first part of Appendix B defines "1" as Seeds as the propagation method.  In order to know what treatment the seeds require the number needs to be followed by a letter.  Since "1" doesn't have a letter associated with it, this is of no help in determining the seed treatment.  Here is the list as given in the key:

1.  Seed

     a.  Cold moist stratification: the number of days required for stratification follows (for exam[le, 1a: 60)

     b.  Scarification

     c.  Water leaching

     d.  Treatment with sulfuric acid

     e.  No treatment needed

     f.  Warm/cold stratification (days required for warm/cold stratification: for example, 1f: 45/140)

     g.  Other

There is a note after the germination code for Stephanomeria pauciflora—"Germination increases if seed is stored."  The note references a book by James Young and Cheryl Young.  1992.  Seeds of Woody Plants in North America.  Portland, OR: Dioscoridies Press. 407p.  We have a copy of the revised version of this book, Seeds of Woody Plants in North America by James Young and Cheryl Young in the Wildflower Center Library.  The entry on page 328 reads:

"Germination is initially below 10% but increases with storage to 70% at the end of 3 years.  After 3 years, viability declines rapidly."

I asked the Wildflower Center's Nursery Manager, Sean Watson, if he had experience germinating the seeds of Stephanomeria pauciflora.  Here is what he said;

"I have never tried to grow this plant, but I would imagine cold moist stratification for 30-60 days may be what is needed if they have not had any luck from fresh seed."

 

 
 

From the Image Gallery


Brownplume wirelettuce
Stephanomeria pauciflora

Brownplume wirelettuce
Stephanomeria pauciflora

More Propagation Questions

Panels for greenhouse in Austin
January 09, 2008 - I am building a greenhouse for my plants here in Austin and and will be using PVC panels for the roof. Which would be better for starting and growing plants the clear or the white panels?
view the full question and answer

Dogwoods cross-pollinating from Snyder, CO
October 24, 2012 - I have a red twig and a yellow twig dogwood. Will they cross-pollinate to produce berries? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Rooting desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) from a cutting
May 12, 2009 - I found a desert willow with great bloom color and I am trying to root a cutting. I have never tried to root a cutting but I have read that desert willow is easy to root. My first attempt was in a vas...
view the full question and answer

Need care instructions for Cardiosperma halicacabum in Little Rock, AR>
May 11, 2012 - I'd like to find out how to cultivate & care for a balloon vine/heart seed vine/love in a puff vine which I found growing wild in my yard (in Little Rock, Arkansas). There seems to be very little in...
view the full question and answer

Cultivation of Gossypium hirsutum, Upland Cotton
February 08, 2006 - I got a cotton boll (seeds and all) at a spinning workshop. I spun the cotton and the lady who brought the cotton boles said the seeds could be planted and the plant could be grown in a container on ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.