- Sat Oct 23, 2021 8:26 pm
I use a different technique to harvest Drosera seeds. I didn't come up with this on my own, but I can't remember who it was who taught it to me (Was it you, Mike?). Whoever you are: Thank you!
I take a large-ish square of paper (maybe 8") and fold it in half with a sharp crease. I let the fold flatten out and hold it with my left hand near the base of the plant. With my right hand, I gently bend the flower stalk over the paper so that the seed pods are an inch or two to one side of the crease. I then use a gentle slapping motion to hit the whole seed head against the paper. Ripe seeds will drop out of the pods and roll down to the crease. When no more seeds are appearing after multiple slaps (or I get bored), I slowly release the stalk and tip the collected seeds into a collection envelope, clean the paper by brushing my finger tip along the crease and move on to the next plant.
This technique has several advantages:
- You can start collecting seeds from the earliest ripening heads without worrying about immature seeds further up the shaft. Since the shaft is still attached to the plant, the other heads will still have a chance to mature in their own time.
- The collected seeds are clean, with almost no chaff to be removed.
- It's quick.
- You can repeat the process as often as you like, gathering only the ripe seeds each time - just as long as you are very gentle with the sometimes brittle flower shaft. (If I do snap the shaft, I just put whatever's left of the seed head on the folded paper and thresh out the remaining ripe seeds with a plastic spoon or the equivalent. Or I could follow the recommendations for maturing seed pods elsewhere in this discussion.)
One other note: For plants with very short shafts, I use a much smaller piece of paper (4"?) and hold it so the crease has a gentle pocket near the middle. I find to get close enough to the base of the shaft, I have to tip the paper, so that the pocket allows the seeds to be trapped and not roll off. I'm also much more careful about bending the shaft since the short shaft is likely to be less flexible. Otherwise the procedure is the same.
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