Seeds from the plant

cfmuehling(7b DC/MD burbs)May 17, 2004

Hi all!

I have a lovely hellebore that has purple blossoms. (Does anyone know what this strain might probably be?) In the middle it looks like it has seed pods or something.

I'd like to harvest them to trade, but don't know when, how, or if I'm even looking at the right place. Plus, I don't want to take a blossom off, since it's so lovely.

Any suggestions would be wonderful. I love this little guy!

Christine

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bultman(8 NL Europe)

My hellebore was labelled "Helleborus Orientalis Lady Mixed" (you can look at it on:
http://www.xs4all.nl/%7Ebultman/bernadette/plants.html
As you see it's supposed to have a mixture of colour but has turned out in fact to produce very dark red flowers. I'd like to know if the labelling was right? Sounds an odd question I know but I've read that (and this is where the issue of seeds comes in) although you can harvest the seeds you can't know which colour flowers they'll produce. Is this correct?
I've taken some seeds recently from my own plant. The best way to do this is just to wait until the pods pop open by themselves - they're easily visible on the balcony floor. Alternatively you could try tying a light plastic sandwich bag around a flower when the pods are brown and look like they're about to burst open, so collecting all the seed.

Bernadette

    Bookmark   May 18, 2004 at 4:06AM
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Greenmanplants(UDSA Zone 8)

The seed are ripe when they show a little bit of grey colour right through to black. The pods will burst themselves when the seeds are black however if they "Pop" under very slight, finger and thumb, pressure along the seam you can be pretty sure you'll reveal seeds already turning grey. Try the lowest blooms on the plant first, these will be the ones that flowered first, hence seed ready first.

Plant them while fresh, see the chain"How do you grow your Hellebore seeds" on this forum for loads of good advice.

If there are no pods in the centre of the flower that means that flower was not pollinated.

Yes the seeds can give different plants, mostly because the breeding pogram has been pretty frantic, with people trying all sorts of crosses, giving mixed genestock which can re-appear in future generations. Some of the early breeders, eg Liz Strangman, bred strains of plants where successive generations of similar plants were interbred choosing always to discard the non conformant sports and keep only those with the desired characteristics, like breeding a bloodline in horses or dogs. Again you'll see these sold as x 'Queen of the Night' strain, or 'Ballard Seedling'. Named plants are very rare and not necessarily desireable.

You will also get very mixed seed where plants have been open pollinated, not so much of a problem if you only have the one plant(but what have your neighbours got??).

There are a lot of purple plants about, unless it was a division of an original named cultivar, it should really be called Helleborus hybridus. Shape of flower, shape and size of petal, size of nectaries, length of pedicel, colour the flowers fade to, are all as important as initial colour in identifying any particular seed strain.

Get yourself armed with an artists brush next year and try the hand pollination yourself, it'll bring a whole lot of fun and meaning to your growing.

Cheers Greenmanplants

    Bookmark   May 18, 2004 at 5:37AM
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