Daylilies forum: Seed Harvesting Questions

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Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
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DogsNDaylilies
Aug 5, 2015 7:32 PM CST
This will mark my first year harvesting seedpods and I want to make sure I do it right! I read that seedpods take about 6 weeks to develop and I pollinated my first daylily on 7/1/15, so it's just about that time.

My understanding is that I'm supposed to wait until the pods start to turn brown and open, but what happens when it isn't brown and starts to open? (I had this happen to one of my earlier seedpods and it dropped all of the white seeds that were inside, and here it is happening again):
Thumb of 2015-08-06/DogsNDaylilies/1d790c
Will white seeds be fertile, or do they need to turn brown-black in the pod first in order to be viable? What is causing a couple of my seed pods to open early, do they need more water? Is this pod salvageable or are they goners, now? Should I cut the pod off of the plant and stick it in water indoors, would that help?

On a different note...

Thumb of 2015-08-06/DogsNDaylilies/9bb386
I was so surprised to find a 4-section seedpod today that I went on a mission through my different daylily beds and happened to find a second one.
Thumb of 2015-08-06/DogsNDaylilies/1480a0
I don't know how many seedpods I have going right now, but it's probably somewhere in the area of 100, which means 2% of my seedpods are 4-section. Have any of you noticed about what percent of your seedpods have an extra section? Does this generally mean more seeds? Most seed auctions on the LA are for 6 seeds...does that mean there are usually 2 seeds per section and that these two pods might have 8 seeds?

Also, from looking at the picture-before-last, you can see that the seedpod has a red-purple color on the top--is that my key that the plant is either drying out, lacking nutrients, or that the seedpod is nearly ready for harvest? Or is that just a natural coloration for seedpods of some cultivars?
Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DogsNDaylilies
Aug 5, 2015 7:45 PM CST
By the way, sorry for the grainy pictures, but they were taken just a little bit ago (evening time), so the picture quality just isn't there.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Aug 5, 2015 8:01 PM CST
Interesting color of those 2 seedpods. I've never seen one turn that color. Weird. I have no idea about how viable the seed pods are, but would certainly let them ripen.

I just harvested a bunch of seed pods today and should have taken a photo for you to see what they look like when ripe and ready to collect the seeds. Sad

http://www.daylilies.org/ahs_dictionary/pod.html

http://www.allaboutdaylilies.org/howToPropagateDaylilies.php

How many seeds in a pod? ... no telling until you crack it open and dump them out. I have had 4 sections on some of mine too. It's a bonus if there are seeds in all chambers. Some pods are small and have a lot of seeds and some are huge and have just a few seeds. Size of pod doesn't necessarily determine number of seeds.

I typically get 1 to 4 seeds per chamber in the pod. But I've had 6 at times, too. Sometimes even more. Be aware that seeds come in different sizes. Some cultivar produce large seeds and others produce smaller seeds. After they dry for 3 days, do the gentle squeeze test to see if they are viable seeds. A seed that isn't viable will not stay firm when squeezed. And even firm seeds can be no good. I've had all kinds.
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Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DogsNDaylilies
Aug 5, 2015 8:05 PM CST
Becky - that's great information, thank you!! Any thoughts on what to do on the white seeds that are trying to pop out before they're ready?
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
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beckygardener
Aug 5, 2015 8:09 PM CST
Leave them be. I've had the same thing happen to me. Some times they will still ripen on their own as long as the seed pod doesn't open completely and they fall out. Otherwise there is really nothing you can do. The seeds are typically brown or black when ripe. Not white. They will shrivel up and die if they are still white seeds.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
[Last edited by beckygardener - Aug 5, 2015 8:09 PM (+)]
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Name: Ashton & Terry
Jones, OK (Zone 7a)
Windswept Farm & Gardens
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kidfishing
Aug 5, 2015 8:11 PM CST
DogsNDaylilies said:Becky - that's great information, thank you!! Any thoughts on what to do on the white seeds that are trying to pop out before they're ready?


Nothing much that you can do.
I would just leave them on the scape, they are not ripe yet.
That chamber might rot if it rains.

Cross posted with Becky.
Kidfishing
[Last edited by kidfishing - Aug 5, 2015 8:12 PM (+)]
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Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
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Natalie
Aug 5, 2015 9:09 PM CST
The pods with four sides are from a poly bloom, from what I understand. Not sure if that means that there is a better chance of the seedlings being a poly or not, but that would be very exciting! I've only had one of them over the years!

I agree that the white seeds aren't ready, or aren't viable, but I'd leave the pod on the scape. The other two sides aren't open yet, so there is a chance that you'll get viable seeds from those two sides. I've never had that problem before though!

I like to go through the garden, and give a little bit of a squeeze on the pods. If you hear a cracking noise, they are usually ready. They may pop open, so be careful and don't squeeze too hard. It's easy to tell with a squeeze if they aren't ready. They will still be very firm.
Natalie
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Aug 6, 2015 1:50 AM CST
Four chambered seed pods can indicate that the flower had extra petals and sepals (an obviously visible poly bloom) but many more in my experience are caused by the pistil alone having extra sections (not an easily visible poly bloom). Much of the time the extra "stigmatic branch" is visible at the top of the pistil but sometimes it is visible much lower down the pistil than the normal stigmatic branches. When I have pollinated those lower stigmas on purpose I find that they can also be fertile/productive.

White seeds usually are immature but not always. There are a very few (rare) cultivars that always produce only white seeds. Those white seeds are presumably mature and caused by a genetic mutation that prevents those specific cultivars from making the normal black pigment. 'Moonlight Orchid' is one of the cultivars that has been described as producing white seeds.

It is possible that any cultivar may accidentally produce mature white seeds occasionally due to non-genetic causes that prevent it making the normal black seed pigment. Testing the seeds, the squeeze test, will help determine if they are viable. Arisumi did some experiments to check how "young" seeds could be and still germinate. He wrote, "Although daylily capsules and seeds require 50-60 days to mature (VOTH, GRIESBACH, and YEAGER 1968), seeds harvested after 35 days have embryos that are nearly full grown and capable of germinating on filter paper or in nutrient agar. Therefore, capsules that were at least 5 weeks old were considered mature."

Note, how mature a capsule and its seeds are, will depend on the temperature at which it develops. Arisumi did his research in Beltsville, Maryland, so that should be taken into account when determining the minimum amount of time capsules need to become mature. If daylilies experience temperatures higher than those of Beltsville while the pod is developing, it will take less time; if they experience temperatures that are lower (on average) it will take somewhat more time.
Maurice
Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DogsNDaylilies
Aug 6, 2015 4:56 AM CST
@Natalie - That's what I thought, too! Thumbs up Big Grin ....about the poly bloom, I mean. That would make sense for the pod in the last picture because that's from my Olallie Red, which had two poly blooms this year...but Olallie Red was my only daylily to poly--aside from natural poly-ers like my Give Me Eight, of course. The 4-part seedpod from the middle picture, however, is on my "Fear Not" and it only had a few blooms this year (it only had a single scape) and not one of them was a poly. Blinking :confused:

@admmad - Maurice, thank you for sharing all of the great information! That's helpful to know about the multi-part stigma. That might be why I ended up with a four-part seedpod, but I honestly don't remember there being a multi-part stigma on the Fear Not. Maybe I just didn't see it? (Most of my multi-part stigmas were on Olallie Red, Black Plush, Thanks Two Friends, and a couple of others in my garden.) Hmm.

admmad said:There are a very few (rare) cultivars that always produce only white seeds. Those white seeds are presumably mature and caused by a genetic mutation that prevents those specific cultivars from making the normal black pigment. 'Moonlight Orchid' is one of the cultivars that has been described as producing white seeds.

That is so interesting! Where did you get this information from, if I may? This could be really useful information to include in the ATP database! I don't know if this is the same thing or not, but I know of one hybridizer who told me her pod parent wasn't any good because it kept producing grey seeds--is it possible that those seeds were viable, but just improperly pigmented? Or are grey seeds always a sign of infertility?

Your information about the time to maturity for the seeds is really helpful, too. I don't know how hot Maryland summers get...ours was consistently hot for a few weeks though with no rain for just over two weeks straight to cool it down at all. It was only in the high 80's to 90's, but the direct sun might have made it seem hotter (especially to the plants). Hard to say.

I will try to capture the white seeds if they fall out. If they fall out while still white, I'll do a pinch test to see if they might be viable. Since they are on my Olallie Red (and not a lighter-colored cultivar), I have to imagine that the plant can make the appropriate pigmentation, but we'll see. :)
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Aug 6, 2015 6:04 AM CST
Maurice - How interesting!!!! I had never heard of that before about the white seed possibilities! Fascinating information. Thank you for sharing that with us. I learn something new every day! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Aug 6, 2015 7:16 AM CST
DogsNDaylilies said:The 4-part seedpod from the middle picture, however, is on my "Fear Not" and it only had a few blooms this year (it only had a single scape) and not one of them was a poly.

I think that four part stigmas are not always noticeable and that may be the only part of the flower that had extras

DogsNDaylilies said:Maurice, thank you for sharing all of the great information! That's helpful to know about the multi-part stigma. That might be why I ended up with a four-part seedpod, but I honestly don't remember there being a multi-part stigma on the Fear Not. Maybe I just didn't see it?

You are very welcome. I often do not notice four part stigmas when pollinating a flower.

DogsNDaylilies said:Where did you get this information from, if I may? This could be really useful information to include in the ATP database!

I am interested in the genetics of daylilies. There is not one single characteristic that has been scientifically analyzed in daylilies and (scientifically, objectively) identified as being due to a single gene mutation. White seeds may be caused by such a single gene mutation. Therefore, I have posted and discussed white seeds on other forums over the years. I do not have a record of who (or how many different people) may have posted that "Moonlight Orchid" always produced white seeds for them or on what forum but that would have been the origin of the information. I had a seedling that produced only white seeds in all its pods. Unfortunately, I lost it because I dug it up and potted it (I should have left it in the ground). I purchased a double fan of 'Moonlight Orchid' last year to verify its production of white seed. It has not bloomed this year.

DogsNDaylilies said:I don't know if this is the same thing or not, but I know of one hybridizer who told me her pod parent wasn't any good because it kept producing grey seeds--is it possible that those seeds were viable, but just improperly pigmented?

Yes, quite possible.

DogsNDaylilies said:Or are grey seeds always a sign of infertility?

There is no reason that I know of for unusually coloured seeds that are mature at about the right time and firm to not be viable.

DogsNDaylilies said:I will try to capture the white seeds if they fall out. If they fall out while still white, I'll do a pinch test to see if they might be viable. Since they are on my Olallie Red (and not a lighter-colored cultivar), I have to imagine that the plant can make the appropriate pigmentation, but we'll see. :)

The black pigment covering the seeds is not closely related to the pigments in the flowers so the colour of the flower and the presence or absence of the black pigment would be unrelated. A daylily might have dark purple or dark red flowers and have a mutation in one of the genes that are required to produce the black pigment so its seeds could be white (or a shade that is not the usual black, possibly brownish or greyish, etc.).

beckygardener said:Maurice - How interesting!!!! I had never heard of that before about the white seed possibilities! Fascinating information. Thank you for sharing that with us. I learn something new every day!

You are very welcome.
Maurice
[Last edited by admmad - Aug 6, 2015 7:19 AM (+)]
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Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
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Hemlady
Aug 6, 2015 7:27 AM CST
I think we did discuss Moonlight Orchid last summer. I have it and it does produce white seeds. I have never tried to grow any of the seeds to see if they will germinate or not.
Lighthouse Gardens
Ontario, Canada (Zone 5a)
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gargoyl52
Aug 6, 2015 7:43 AM CST
I have seed pods on my forestlake ragamuffin that have that odd color on the top. The rest are normal looking.
Thumb of 2015-08-06/gargoyl52/b76db0

Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Aug 6, 2015 7:48 AM CST
gargoyl52 - After reading the very interesting information that Maurice posted, I wouldn't worry about an odd colored pod. I would imagine that if it is growing and ripening, then the seeds will be fine. That is cool though to see something so different! Thumbs up
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Aug 6, 2015 10:27 AM CST
gargoyl52 said:I have seed pods on my forestlake ragamuffin that have that odd color on the top. The rest are normal looking.

The seed pods of some cultivars develop red/purple pigments and colouration. It is perfectly normal. The colour may develop more deeply or may fade as the pod develops. This tends to be a characteristic that is cultivar specific; I have noticed that if the cultivar has dark coloured flowers its pods are more likely to develop the dark colour but it may not last.

Maurice
Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
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bxncbx
Aug 6, 2015 11:06 AM CST
Just my two cents but my pods rarely make it to the brown stage before dropping seeds. When I lived down South I could look for brown pods but up here the pods start to open well before turning brown. Each day I go out and look at my pods to see if they are opening. If so, I pick them. I may also try the squeeze method mentioned by Natalie! Thumbs up

Also, if you find a green pod on the ground always check it to see if the seeds are ripe. If the pod has been knocked off by me the tag will still be there and I can figure out my chances of getting ripe seeds. But if a squirrel has been nibbling (or throwing half-eaten apples into my daylily bed thereby knocking off pods) the tag may be gone. So before I just sigh & toss it into the compost I check it. More often than not I find (some) ripe seeds.

Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Birds Cat Lover
Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Daylilies Hummingbirder Heucheras
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Hemlady
Aug 6, 2015 11:08 AM CST
Same here Elena. My seed pods hardly ever turn brown.
Lighthouse Gardens
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
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beckygardener
Aug 6, 2015 11:15 AM CST
That's interesting! I guess if the pods start to open, regardless of color of pod, the seeds are ripe!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Birds Cat Lover
Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Daylilies Hummingbirder Heucheras
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Hemlady
Aug 6, 2015 11:18 AM CST
Yep, probably our weather isn't hot enough here to turn them brown. That is an exception on some cultivars though. I have a few that do get brown, but mostly they turn yellow.
Lighthouse Gardens
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
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Natalie
Aug 6, 2015 11:22 AM CST
I never wait until mine are brown. I just do the squeeze test, and know when they are ready. Haven't had any of the seeds not germinate, so it works for me. I do find brown on them though. Just never the entire pod.
Natalie

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