Plant ID forum→Very Odd Results from Samara Seeds

Views: 878, Replies: 19 » Jump to the end
Name: Zesko Whirligan
North Carolina, USA (Zone 8a)
Image
Zesko
Jun 13, 2020 2:44 PM CST
Here's a puzzler (for me, anyway). Several weeks ago I found a scattering of 1-inch samara seeds in a parking lot that was bordered by sycamores on one side and red maples on the other. Thinking I'd try my hand at germinating trees from these seeds, I gathered up a few and brought them home. After soaking them in rain water for 24 hours, I planted the six seeds, wings and all, in individual pots. I was surprised when all six pots had new shoots in them, dead center where I planted the seeds, within a week. But I was more puzzled by the apparent fact that these new plants are large, fast-growing grasses. At 5 weeks, the things are over a foot-and-a-half tall and are definitely not sycamore or red maple trees. So, my question is this: What large, fast-growing grass in the Carolinas germinates from 1-inch winged samara seeds?? I've tried identifying them on my own, but I'm out of my depth. Thanks for any help you can offer!
Thumb of 2020-06-13/Zesko/61b360

[Last edited by Zesko - Jun 13, 2020 7:36 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2272960 (1)
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Jun 13, 2020 4:56 PM CST
Welcome!

Have you pulled one up to see what the seed looks like? I suspect you will find your winged seeds still down there as they shouldn't germinate until next spring.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Zesko Whirligan
North Carolina, USA (Zone 8a)
Image
Zesko
Jun 13, 2020 6:44 PM CST
So you think some giant grass seed coincidentally crept into the exact center of each pot I planted, exactly where the winged seeds were planted, they all germinated simultaneously, and they are all coincidentally the same odd, stalky grass (which suggests to me that they're all the same odd species)? The resulting plants look like no other grass on my property. But, yes, I pulled up two of the plants and sifted the potted soil, finding no trace of seeds I planted 5 weeks ago.
[Last edited by Zesko - Jun 13, 2020 7:35 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2273208 (3)
Name: Sharon Rose
Grapevine, TX (Zone 8a)
Grace of the Lord Jesus be with all
Daylilies Composter Cottage Gardener Hibiscus Enjoys or suffers hot summers Zinnias
Salvias Bulbs Amaryllis Lilies Clematis Region: Texas
Image
Altheabyanothername
Jun 13, 2020 7:03 PM CST
Hi! Zesko and a big Welcome!

This does interest me...I would take one pot apart and look at the grass to see if it is sprouting from the seed or is the seed still intact in the pot. The grass might not be native just came in the potting soil. I have gotten quite a few weeds from potting soils. Sad

Taking it apart could help solve the mystery...and I like a good mystery. Besides something tells me you do not want to grow that grass. So either you will still have the seed or available pots to try something else in!

Many blessings for successful gardening endeavors!

One to take to heart....1 John 4
Name: Kelly
Redding, California (Zone 9b)
Xeriscape Orchids Garden Photography Bee Lover Birds
Image
KellyFW
Jun 13, 2020 7:41 PM CST
Zesko said:So you think some giant grass seed coincidentally crept into the exact center of each pot I planted, exactly where the winged seeds were planted, they all germinated simultaneously, and they are all coincidentally the same odd, stalky grass (which suggests to me that they're all the same odd species)? The resulting plants look like no other grass on my property.


Yes, to all your questions IF the seeds you planted look like the one pictured.

That is a maple seed and that is grass growing in your pots. If the seeds looked different then we don't have enough information.

Name: Zesko Whirligan
North Carolina, USA (Zone 8a)
Image
Zesko
Jun 13, 2020 7:43 PM CST
Well, it's too dark now to do another dissection, but I'll take a third pot apart in the morning and photograph what I find. Thank you all, and see you in the morning!
Name: Zesko Whirligan
North Carolina, USA (Zone 8a)
Image
Zesko
Jun 13, 2020 7:52 PM CST
KellyFW said:
Yes, to all your questions IF the seeds you planted look like the one pictured.

That is a maple seed and that is grass growing in your pots. If the seeds looked different then we don't have enough information.



That is what the seeds looked like, and I assumed they WERE maple when I found them (because the location featured sycamores and red maples), which is why I planted them. The idea of the same odd, stalky grass seed sneeking into each planting (which only took a matter of seconds for each pot) seems like too much coincidence. Also, when I took two of the pots apart and sifted the soil, I could find no trace of the seeds I planted. I'll take a third pot apart in the morning and document it with closeup photographs. Thanks for the replies, everyone!

[Last edited by Zesko - Jun 13, 2020 7:58 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2273285 (7)
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Jun 13, 2020 9:33 PM CST
How deep did you plant the maple seeds?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
You can't have too many viburnums..
Region: United States of America Region: Kentucky Farmer Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Enjoys or suffers cold winters Dog Lover Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Image
ViburnumValley
Jun 13, 2020 10:13 PM CST
In my NTBHO (Never To Be Humble Opinion), Zesko has not performed a control versus variable experiment with this seedling germination exercise.

There is no proof that something has or has not happened to the seed that was planted.

There is no proof that the medium was sterile and free of contamination from other seed when the samaras were planted, or afterward.

The plant that has germinated is clearly of Graminaceae origin - some sort of grass species.

The absence - when examined - of the presence of the samara, clearly shows that no policing was executed of the growing medium to ensure that no external fauna had access to consume or burglarize said samara from said growing medium.

To summarize: Zesko may discover many things after examination of the remains of this experiment, but no results will replace the lack of controls of natural variables. Maple seeds - as samaras - are what they are. Grass seedlings - as pictured - are what they are. They are not the same. If the growing site and growing media were not sequestered to ensure against contamination and/or predation, no commentary here will answer hypothetical questions about why Maple seedlings did not germinate and why grass seedlings obviously did.
John
Name: Zesko Whirligan
North Carolina, USA (Zone 8a)
Image
Zesko
Jun 14, 2020 12:35 PM CST
DaisyI said:How deep did you plant the maple seeds?


I planted them all about 1-inch-deep, just poked my finger in the soil, dropped in the seeds (one-per-pot, dead center), covered and watered them in. I didn't expect any immediate results, of course.
Name: Zesko Whirligan
North Carolina, USA (Zone 8a)
Image
Zesko
Jun 14, 2020 12:55 PM CST
ViburnumValley said: If the growing site and growing media were not sequestered to ensure against contamination and/or predation, no commentary here will answer hypothetical questions about why Maple seedlings did not germinate and why grass seedlings obviously did.


If it was only one pot in question, I'd agree it was just a fluke and think nothing more of it. However, the same thing happened in all six (6) pots, all the same medium, all samaras planted dead-center. The exact same large grass germinated at the same time, dead-center of each pot, precisely where I planted the samaras.

It just seems more than coincidental to me that a large, stalky grass would somehow sneak in to replace the samaras I planted in 6 pots, but I have no infestation of such grass in my many other outdoor pots using the same medium.

I'm not proposing any explanation of mischievous gnomes or garden fairies. I only asked a question: Is there a large, fast growing grass (in the Carolinas or anywhere else) that germinates from and produces winged seeds that look very, very similar to maple samaras?
[Last edited by Zesko - Jun 14, 2020 1:01 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2273824 (11)
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Jun 14, 2020 2:32 PM CST
Zesko said:Is there a large, fast growing grass (in the Carolinas or anywhere else) that germinates from and produces winged seeds that look very, very similar to maple samaras?


No.

You planted Maple seeds, they won't germinate until next spring. What's growing in your pot is grass.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Sharon Rose
Grapevine, TX (Zone 8a)
Grace of the Lord Jesus be with all
Daylilies Composter Cottage Gardener Hibiscus Enjoys or suffers hot summers Zinnias
Salvias Bulbs Amaryllis Lilies Clematis Region: Texas
Image
Altheabyanothername
Jun 14, 2020 3:21 PM CST
A guess would be by not finding the seeds you planted...that a squirrel may have eaten them. Squirrels do like maple seeds! Very odd indeed that they came to every pot and did that without making a mess. The grass seed coming to the center might not be so odd...the dirt was pushed down towards the center...and the drainage hole is toward the center.

Searching I can not find a winged grass seed...leaning towards a non-native exotic grass that some one had put in their landscaping. I came up empty handed. I was really hoping that you would have found the samara seed still in there, (with the grass seed having been pushed into the center.) You do have a mystery there...I am with you I do not think garden gnomes or fairies did it. Thumbs up
It was very nice meeting you, although I could not be of help.

May your summer be happy!
One to take to heart....1 John 4
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Keeps Horses I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Plant Identifier Raises cows Roses Farmer Celebrating Gardening: 2015
porkpal
Jun 14, 2020 4:30 PM CST
Do you have a neighbor who is a practical joker, perhaps.
Porkpal
Name: Zesko Whirligan
North Carolina, USA (Zone 8a)
Image
Zesko
Jun 14, 2020 8:19 PM CST
Dissected a third pot this morning and photographed the procedure:

1. This is one of the six pots. Same media, same stalky grass growing from the exact spot where I planted the winged seeds...
Thumb of 2020-06-15/Zesko/329023

2. The media and plant carefully removed from the pot...
Thumb of 2020-06-15/Zesko/60779e

3. Carefully removed soil, leaving a mound with the grass (and presumably the seed) in the center...
Thumb of 2020-06-15/Zesko/ca8448

4. When peripheral roots became visible, stopped manually excavating...Thumb of 2020-06-15/Zesko/7628fe

5. From this point on, only excavated with a sprayer bottle...Thumb of 2020-06-15/Zesko/695bec

6. Lo and behold. The large, pulpy remains of the reddish winged seed I planted are still attached at the base of the plant. The seed wing has obviously deteriorated over 5 weeks, but the body of the seed is still attached...
Thumb of 2020-06-15/Zesko/c26af0

7. Completely excavated by sprayer, the pulpy remains of the large reddish winged seed I planted are plainly still attached to the plant..
Thumb of 2020-06-15/Zesko/7ede44

So, no predation, no media contamination, no sneaky neighbors, no mischievous gnomes or garden fairies. The grass is growing from those winged seeds I planted.

Which brings me back to my original question: What large, fast-growing grass in the Carolinas (or anywhere else) germinates from a winged seed that looks remarkably like a maple samara??

[Last edited by Zesko - Jun 14, 2020 8:28 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2274260 (15)
Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
You can't have too many viburnums..
Region: United States of America Region: Kentucky Farmer Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Enjoys or suffers cold winters Dog Lover Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Image
ViburnumValley
Jun 14, 2020 9:16 PM CST
I suggest that Zesko cease and desist trying to prove the scenario that a Maple samara produced a grass seedling.

There is no information, evidence, picture, specimen, or anything else showing us what was actually planted. You provided an image of a Maple samara back in your first post, but that doesn't appear to be a seed that you collected, but rather a picture you found somewhere - correct? I think you could do well to go back to where you originally collected what you THOUGHT were Maple samaras - which very well may not have been - and show us what that actually was.

You have stated that you are "...out of your depth." I suspect you may be using terminology to describe botanical elements incorrectly, which is misleading all contributors here trying to provide assistance. You may very well have collected seed samples of some member of Graminaceae, but you haven't shown us what those are or what they looked like. Rather, this has been an example of the old horticulture professor ruse where it is suggested to pick up something off the ground under a plant in order to identify what that plant is. Oldest trick in the book! Items on the ground do not necessarily correlate with what is overhead.

If you were to return to the "scene of the crime" where you collected the items that you planted, and show the conditions from which you collected the seeds (maybe some seeds are STILL there) and also show the site and all the plants that are in the area, then maybe some rigor may be brought to this ID exercise.

Alternatively, since it seems you are intent on proving your own scenario: please grow out any of these grassy species through flowering and setting seed. Then, you will have your answer as to what you actually planted. The grass cannot produce seed different from which it was grown. We will all relish seeing the samara-like seeds on that grass plant, and we will then all have the opportunity to learn along with you what this species actually is.
John
Name: Zesko Whirligan
North Carolina, USA (Zone 8a)
Image
Zesko
Jun 14, 2020 9:51 PM CST
ViburnumValley said:I suggest that Zesko cease and desist trying to prove the scenario ...


Am I on trial here, Perry Mason?

I asked a question, and you provided nothing but narrow, dismissive, armchair deductive reasoning.

Others requested that I take a plant apart and carefully inspect it -- which I did, providing some documentation of the effort.

Seemingly, you have a chip on your shoulder about my very first thread in these forums. I did not come here to massage your emotional stability (or lack thereof), I came here for answers. Most others here have been considerate and helpful. If you cannot do likewise, I suggest that YOU cease and desist.

[Last edited by Zesko - Jun 14, 2020 9:58 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2274334 (17)
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Jun 14, 2020 10:23 PM CST
Zesko, I can't tell you how it happened or where your maple seeds went. They may have rotted because you buried them before you stratified them. I do know the maple seeds would not germinate until next spring and they would be Dicotyledons (two seed leaves). Grass is a monocot (one leaf) and will germinate anytime with adequate moisture.

Somehow, grass seed was introduced into your pots. Maybe contaminated soil or helpful birds. Not a clue. All we can tell you is grass seed always looks like grass seed and maple seeds are always maple seeds. Grass seed always grows into grass and maple seeds always grow into maples.

Maple seed will not germinate without stratification. Go back and gather more maple seed. Put them in a plastic bag with a little damp sand in your fridge for two or three months. Get them out and plant them. You will grow maples.

@ViburnumValley, I understand your frustration but calling names probably won't help anything.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Frankie
NE Georgia (Zone 7b)
Image
frankielynn
Jun 20, 2020 12:53 PM CST
That is very strange. I have tried to google for an ornamental grass with winged seeds and not found one. I would be interested in what plant those seeds came from.
Name: John
Pomona/Riverside CA (Zone 9a)
CPPgardener
Jun 20, 2020 11:01 PM CST
In the picture labeled 6. there seems to be the remains of a maple samara sans wing right above the number.
“That which is, is.That which happens, happens.” Douglas Adams

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Plant ID forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by ge1836 and is called "DAYLILY Starling"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.