Pinus cembra seed question

the_yard_guy(6A)August 21, 2014

Hello all. I've been reading about Pinus cembra seeds and could use some confirmation. As I understand it seeds from this tree take 3 years to mature, correct? Also, I think this tree is called "monoecious" however I've read that it cannot pollinate its own seeds. Finally, seed stratification takes anywhere between 60 and 270 days. That's a huge window.

Do I have all of this info correct?



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Yes the way i read it was that the seeds mature in a cone that is in its 3rd year.

Monoecious plants / trees do not necessarily reproduce from self. I am not sure if this is true of this pine or not.

Germination or seed viability, I believe could be up to 270 days. Stratification may take at least 60 days but 270 days seems unlikely. Not a whole lot of time to grow after that long. I am not stating fact there, but i would probably reread or research that part again.Give them a try. They will probably pop up quick for you.

The seeds are good for eating and is why i had originally researched it. Takes 12-15 years to cone plus the 3 plus to mature. Figured I would just buy them at the store.

Good luck with your seeds. Let us know how you make out

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 9:53PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation From Seed to Tissue Culture:

SEED: The immature cone is greenish violet and changes to purplish brown when ripe. Cones ripen in August and September and seeds are not dispersed until the detached cone disintegrates. Therefore, the cones must be mechanically broken up to free the seeds. Swiss stone pine averages 2,150 cleaned seeds per pound. Seeds should probably be floated to determine soundness. The seed coate is thick but not impervious to water as once thought. Fresh and stored seeds require 3 to 9 months cold stratification. Some lots of P. cembra also may have immature embryos and require a warm stratification (2 to 3 months at 70 to 80 F) preceding the cold stratification for maximum germination. Late fall sowing has given poor germination. Fall sown seed in August or early September has given good results because this species benefits from 2 to 3 months warm moist pretreatment. Shade seedlings for 2 years. Pinus cembra, because of its lenghty and complex seed dormancy problems, together with its difficulty in seed extraction, is a good candidate for vegetative propagation (GRAFTING).

So, I would sow seed now and let them cruise thru winter after a float test and wait.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 8:43AM
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Thanks very much for the info and advice qwade and Dax. So the seeds could indeed take 270 days (9 months) of stratification. Never heard of seeds needing that much time so I will get these started ASAP.

So I should soak the seeds in water and only plant the seeds that sink, correct?



    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 8:55AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Let them sit in the water (the non sinkers) for up to a week. Often some sink. If after a week and still floating, scoop them off and discard them.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 10:42AM
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"As I understand it seeds from this tree take 3 years to mature, correct?"

Wrong! They take about 15-16 months from pollination to maturity. Even from cone initiation (production of the bud from which the cone grows), it's only about 26 months.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 1:03PM
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pinetree30(Sierra Westside)

I concur with resin, and would add that disintegration of the cone as a seed-release mechanism is bogus. Seeds are removed from the cone by the nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes) which accesses them by removing rhe cone scales, and then buries them just under the soil surface to cause regeneration by seeds not later eaten. Dormancy is variable in this species, as in its close relatives.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 2:23PM
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