Peony Seeds

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Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

I agree with Peter that those are nonfertile seeds in the linked photo.  My double-flowered fern-leaf peony produces only non-viable seeds that look, at best, like the linked photo (though the pods in the photo are also green and immature).  Viable peony seeds are rounded in shape and dark in colour.  

Halda (The Genus Paeonia) states that peony seeds are brown to black, smooth and relatively large, and that seeds of P. tenuifolia, specifically, are cylindrical in shape and 4mm x 8mm.  

Examples:
Here's a pod of Paeonia veitchii, which opened on its own and contains one viable seed:

Here's a couple of barely-opened pods on P. mlokosewitchii, which contain only unfertilized seeds:

Here's a pod of P. officinalis, which I popped open prematurely, which contains dark fertilized seeds, and red unfertilized seeds:

For scale (millimeters), here is a fertile P. officinalis seed on left and a dried fertile seed of P. veitchii on the right:

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Here is Paeonia wittmanniana, in flower, then an open seed pod with brilliant red unfertilized seeds, and the last photo shows a bunch of unfertilized red seeds and a single fertilized black-purple berry-like seed.  Lori, I think we were posting at exactly the same time :D

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Sellars
Sellars's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-29

This is a really interesting and useful thread.  It would be good to have more pictures of seeds on the Forum.  There is not much info on the web and it is often unreliable.

In an article in the Rock Garden Quarterly a while back Kristl Walek advised " Know your seed".  Thats all very well but what if you don't know every seed - there is an amazing variety of seed types among species.

David Sellars
From the Wet Coast of British Columbia, Canada

Feature your favourite hikes at:
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cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

I agree with David--some interesting images :)
Someone on ColdZone Yahoo group posted an interesting picture of several types of Peony seed side by side.. the fernleaf seeds are much smaller than the herbaceous cultivar seeds, and they are not at all round, cylindrical would be a better word-- or almost like a fat watermelon seed (I've asked if I can share the photo).. they are certainly black, though...
So would the fernleaf (tenuifolia? really I know nothing about peonies!) have had those pink or red non-viable seeds at some stage? None in the unripe photo I linked to, and certainly none in the dried pods I have

I think there was some kind of seed pods on one or another of our peonies in some past year (didn't pay much attention -no interest in those cultivars/hybrids) but this year all any of them have is big clumps of dead petals...lol.. it was so cold and wet this summer, most of the flowers didn't even fully open..

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Halda shows a line drawing comparing various Paeonia seeds (page 31, if you have access to the book, or try here: http://www.amazon.com/Genus-Paeonia-Josef-J-Halda/dp/0881926124 ).

The seeds of P. tenuifolia are shown as rounded oblongs - not literally cylindrical, but longer than they are wide, hence "cylindrical" - not at all shaped like a watermelon seed, though.  If the seeds in the photo you refer to on the other forum are watermelon seed-shaped, I'd assume they are dried, undeveloped, non-fertile seeds*.

*EDIT:  Note - only an assumption on my part!  I only have a double-flowered fern-leaf peony, which doesn't produce viable seeds at all, so I am only guessing from Halda's work.

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Peter George
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-03

I agree that we need to have more seed pictures on the Forum. In addition, it would be extremely helpful to have seedling pictures as well, particularly seedlings with their first true leaves.

On the Peony front, washing/soaking the fertile seeds in 35% hydrogen peroxide for about 30-45 minutes before planting them makes a huge difference in germination. That particular strength of hydrogen peroxide is called 'food grade' is not generally available in drugstores, but can be obtained at health food stores and on the net. It cannot be shipped by the U.S. Post Office at that strength, by the way, so if you are having it shipped, it must come by UPS or FedEx, etc.

Peter George, Petersham, MA (north central MA, close to the NH/VT borders), zones 5b and 6 around the property.

cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

Lori-- here's the pic, a matter of description, I suppose, so the image is better than the telling-- I said like a fat watermelon seed, (which I would still say ;) and no they do  not appear to be dry or infertile seeds)-- by which I meant not flat and nothing like the round ones, so cylindrical is still not a bad description..
Here's the comment from the photographer/grower:

These are all peony seeds, the yellow are immature seeds from a herbaceous cultivar, just for size and shape comparison.
Clockwise from the yellow, the 2 seeds by themselves are from a peony which has the fernleaf peony as one parent, the next group is from P.anomala (Ural peony) and the smallest seeds in the bottom right corner are from the fernleaf peony. I have germinated seeds that are this size from the fernleaf peony, so I'm quite sure this is what they're s'posed to look like.

from Barb Adams Eichendorf in Saskatchewan

No peony books here, and this is probably the only time I would have need of one...lol.. speaking of which, if the seeds are fleshy, as they appear, do they need to be sown immediately, or can they be stored/sold commercially?

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Being a Paeonia newbie myself, a couple years in a row I actually sowed all of the red seeds from my P. wittmanniana plant; certainly the seeds look plump and fleshy enough like kernals of corn, but then one year one seed capsule produced a much larger much more plump black-purple berry-like seed among all of the red "corn kernals"; I googled around, and then discovered the red-color seed are unfertilized seed and that I wasted my effort sowing them, and it was the large juicier blue or black berries that are the viable fertilized seeds.  That's why forums such as NARGS can be so useful, to learn about some of the odd & fascinating idiosyncrasies in the world of plants.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Peter George
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-03

Well, I've got a ton of nice, big 'blueberry' seeds of P. veitchii, and now I need to know what to do with them in order to get the best chance of germination. Do I let them dry, or do I plant them immediately? Then do I refrigerate them, or leave them 'warm' for 2 months or so before the days cool? Do I wash them in Hydrogen Peroxide? Advice, please. Plus, if you want a few, let me know. I've got maybe 40 extra seeds, so I can send to at least a few of you.

Peter George, Petersham, MA (north central MA, close to the NH/VT borders), zones 5b and 6 around the property.

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Peter, I always sow peony seeds as soon as I get them without doing anything special. They're outside during the winter and most of them germinate in the spring.
Seeds that fall from the shrubby peonies (it is impossible to remove them all) germinate like cress underneath the shrubs.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

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