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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


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.


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

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