Collecting Echium wildpretii seeds?

mark4321_gwMay 7, 2010

My Echium wildpretii is in bloom and I'd hate to just let the seeds go to waste. Can someone give me good instructions on collecting the seeds?

I tried last year with an E. wildpretii x pininana cross and didn't get much.

Here's a photo. The plant is "only" 6 feet tall (they are often a few feet taller). Blooms in its second year (or later) and then dies. Hardy to 25 F or so for those who are curious. My seeds were from J.L. Hudson; Annie's Annuals also sells plants.

A closeup view shows the roughly 1/2 inch flowers that open increasingly farther out from the central stalk (dead ones are dark purple). A seed forms at the base of each flower. The inflorescence contains many thousands such flowers (and thus forms many seeds).

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I've not grown E. wildpretii here since it is not hardy. It is gorgeous though! Anyway, the other echiums I've grown seem very easy to get seed from since they hold onto them and do not drop immediately. The flowers die and the base of the flowers dries up and then the seed is ready. Is this not true of E. wildpretii? Or were you worried since the cross from last year didn't produce much seed? I've found that straight species in general produce seed in greater abundance than species crosses.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 8:33PM
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I seem to remember that many seeds had already been dropped when the plant was still blooming. It appeared to be producing seed just fine. Whatever I did, I got very few seeds.

For this plant, the oldest seeds are clearly not mature at this point.

I just did a rough estimate/count as to how many flowers there are on one of these plants--about 10,000 (or more).

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 9:00PM
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Just for comparison, here's the hybrid. I believe the inflorescence was less densely full of flowers. This plant is sold as 'Mr. Happy' by Annie's Annuals, where I bought it. It grew a little bit taller in bloom, but the plant started out much larger as well.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 9:22PM
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Nice pics Mark! Humm.. well if it is going to drop seeds before the whole thing blooms out, that is tough to collect seed. The whole flower stalks are too big to bag. You could figure out when the seeds are going to drop and visit it every day collecting those seeds on the verge of dropping. That is often what I do for plants that drop seeds. If you could figure out some kind of set up to make like those big dog cone collars that stop dogs from chewing on themselves after an operation and put them around the stems to collect falling seed, that could work. I have no clue how to make something like that, lol.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 8:35PM
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