passiflora incarnata seeds sterile?

neverenouph2002September 15, 2010

Hello all,

I have one maypop plant and it has pods all over it. I opened one and there are large seeds in it. I have read that this plant is self-sterile. Does anyone know if these seeds will be viable and if so, how do I save them? each seed is covered with a small bag of jelly-ish substance.

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pshawn(9B, California)

Hi neverenouph. The "small bag of jelly-ish substance" is called an aril. If the seeds are dark in color they are likely viable. Are there any other plants nearby? Do you have more than one maypop (Passiflora incarnata) plant?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 12:25AM
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I have not seen any other plants nearby and I only have one. I got it as a root cutting. The seeds are dark in color. Any Ideas on how I should save the seeds?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 9:37PM
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If they are dark there's a good chance that they are viable. Just allow them to dry. Sometimes I just allow the fruits to dry out without opening them other times I take the seeds out and let them dry in the arils or I clean them off. I've heard that drying seeds in the arils allows the fruit to ferment and helps remove germination inhibitors but all 3 ways have worked well for me. You can try winter sowing some and start others in the spring.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 10:03AM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

Are there any other plants nearby? Do you have more than one maypop (Passiflora incarnata) plant?

Incarnata is self fertile. The only thing needed is a large pollinator like a carpenter bee, bumble bee or hand pollination. I've gotten 3 fruit off one plant this year all with viable seed.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 2:31PM
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Self-sterile means that the plant does not fertilize itself.

When I first read that about passiflora I thought crap then I looked up what the word meant and found out it just needs a little help from mother nature that didn't mean it couldn't produce viable seed.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 7:37PM
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pshawn(9B, California)

To answer the last question in your original message neverenouph: better not to save the seeds, but use them quickly. They will have the highest germination rate when used fresh. If you do want to save them, you can dry them out and store them cold. P. incarnata seeds actually do well cold-stratified (kept cold for a few months to simulate winter and then warmed up and planted). If you do this, one method I have found works is to take off the arils, put the seeds on a paper towel, allow them to air dry for a few days, and finally fold the paper towel and place seeds and paper towel in a zip lock bag for storage.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 1:56AM
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Just for fun, I'll throw my thoughts in here.

- I don't doubt that some P. incarnata may be self-fertile, but I also am pretty sure that some are not. Mine, for instance, never sets fruit unless one of a few specific pollinators are open at the same time, (or I am breeding on purpose). For a test, I netted a flower to protect it from bees, and pollinated it manually with itself. It did not set a fruit. I am sure if I had sibling incarnata pollen, it would have, but not from the same plant. At least, that was our experience.

- Bees can travel quite some distance. If you live anywhere where incarnata grows wild, you likely just got it cross pollinated. Also, P. caerulea, (widely grown all over the country), will happily pollinate it. The resulting offspring is called P. x colvillii. There are many other Passifloras that could also contribute pollen to your flower to create fruit.

- I agree with Shawn that fresh seed is almost always better. However, this morning, (9-29-10), I had a seedling come up from P. incarnata sent to me by a friend. The seeds were collected in June of 2008. I have no idea how my friend stored them, but we sowed them directly into an Oasis cube on 8-15, with no pre-soak or stratification or scarification, or smoke treatment, or GA3, et cetera. :) 6 weeks for 26 month old seeds isn't bad!

- There are 2 more tests besides color you can do to help you determine viability.

1 - The sink test. When cleaned of aril, and dropped in water, does it sink or float? This is not a perfect system, and does not work well at all for dried seeds, but is a pretty darn good indicator with fresh ones. Oh... you want them to sink.
2 - Unless I have VERY FEW seeds, I always crack a seed or two open to see what's inside. Sometimes with very thick walled seeds, (like incarnata), you can get a false positive with the sink test. Again, this is only for fresh seeds. I always want to see that the inside of my seed is white, moist, and full. Once you have looked at the inside of a few different seeds, you will be surprised how much you learn...

I think that's all I have for now. Good luck!

Eric Wortman

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 6:59PM
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