Growing myrica California from seed

Discussion in 'Plants: Science and Cultivation' started by Louise Boutin, Nov 12, 2019.

  1. Louise Boutin

    Louise Boutin New Member

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    hello there fellow botanical enthusiasts,

    I live in Ucluelet B.C. and would like to start propagating the Pacific Wax Myrtle, Myrica californica by seed. I live in a place where I can gather tons of seeds and while I understand the 90 days of stratification as outlined in Dirr: it is the timing of the de-waxing of the seeds I cannot pin down through my research.

    Some sources describe boiling, some describe using a mild lye solution and some using a soapy solution. Has anyone out there tried to grow these plants by seed with any success? I would love to hear from you,

    thanks, Louise
     
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    From the USDA's Seeds of Woody Plants in the United States:

    Doesn't look like method is too important, just timing.
     
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  3. Louise Boutin

    Louise Boutin New Member

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    Thank you for replying Daniel, I started to think I was in never never land....my 4,500 seeds have been cleaned of waxy coating just by soaking in soapy, warm water and rubbing my hands together using a handful of seeds to brush against themselves. Worked like a charm !
    I worked at the UBC Botanical gardens in 1993, just as a summer student under the guidance of Peter Wharton, David Tarrant and Gerald Straley I loved learning from such amazing plantsmen. It was during that summer that I bartended a Friends of the Garden event that I used a bit too much rum in the cocktails !
    Well again a big thank you Daniel,
    Sincerely,

    Louise Boutin
     
  4. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    You're most welcome--sorry, I've been distracted with teaching the past few weeks, and just catching up!

    You were here at UBC the same time as me, but I suspect a couple years ahead in your program in order to be working as a summer student here. I am still in contact with David, but Peter and Gerald (as you perhaps know) have both passed.
     
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  5. Louise Boutin

    Louise Boutin New Member

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    Yes, I am aware, thank you. I was always in contact with Peter through the years with questions, I was devastated.
    It was a tough year for the Botanical gardens, the curator of the food garden and another curator died as well.

    Yet my memories of my time there has contributed so much to my career as a Landscape Architect, I think Peter especially would have been happy to know I was selected to design the Canadian garden in Tangshang China.

    take care Daniel,

    Louise
     
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  6. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    I wonder how it could be that plants propagate themselves successfully for hundreds of millions of years in Nature, in fact they are Nature's invention, without all those sophisticated methods invented by people?
     
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  7. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I suppose some of the plant propagation techniques suggested are due to removing seeds from their natural environment, where abiotic / biotic factors that might normally be involved are then removed from the process (and then must be substituted by technique)
     
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  8. Louise Boutin

    Louise Boutin New Member

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    “The hard seeds of our native raspberries and blackberries need to be abraded in a bird’s gizzard or eroded by digestive acids before water and air can enter the seed and germination can begin,"
    The seeds of the Myrica californica in Ucluelet region are eaten by birds who then spread the plants after the digestive process. I am growing large numbers of these plants and therefore will need to simulate both the scarification cold process of the outdoors as well as the natural abrasion of birds acid digestion and time on the ground in an acid mulch.
     
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  9. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    I always thought, and still do, that using birds and other animals to disperse seeds is one of Nature's ways of propagating plants, not the necessary link in the plant's life cycle. To make this possible seeds are created resistant to both: mechanical and chemical digestive processes. It is not that the seed has to be subjected to this, or similar, kind of treatment in order to germinate. It may, but it doesn't have to. I have never heard of any plant whose seeds will not germinate without going through the animal's digestive system first. I may be ignorant, so please enlighten me. Quoting an article from The New York Times will not convince me though, sorry.
     
  10. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  11. Louise Boutin

    Louise Boutin New Member

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    Hi there Sundrop...not that I need to convince you, just a little research will lead you to the same conclusion. Research the Clark's nutcracker and the important role it plays in planting entire forests over it's lifetime
    Abstract
    A 90+ year-old burn in the Raft River Mountains, Utah, is being restocked with limber pine (Pinus flexilis James) and other conifers. Limber pine's large wingless seeds are incapable of wind dispersal, and are being brought to the burn area by Clark's nutcracker, a bird that stores them in the soil for food. Unretrieved seeds germinate, often in clumps, and are reestablishing limber pine on this site. In some years nearly the entire seed crop may be harvested by nutcrackers. No other reliable dispersal agent of limber pine seed has been identified.
    (1) Clark's nutcrackers (Nucifraga columbiana) store a mean of only 3.7 whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) seeds per cache, which reduces competition for moisture and space. The mean depth at which seeds are stored, 2.0 cm, is compatible with germination requirements, and many sites selected appear suitable for seed germination. (2) One nutcracker stores about 32 000 whitebark pine seeds at subalpine elevations each year, which represent 3-5 times its energetic requirements. Although parent nutcrackers feed stored seeds to juveniles, in some years there is probably an excess of seeds stored by the population as a whole. (3) Experimental results suggest that seeds retrieved from nutcracker caches are as viable as seeds extracted by hand from cones and that seedlings originating in nutcracker caches have a good survival rate: 56% over the first year and 25% by the fourth year. (4) In comparison with Clark's nutcracker, alternative disperal agents, i.e. rodents and cone disintegration, disperse fewer seeds, disperse seeds shorter distances from parent trees, place seeds in sites less suitable for germination, and/or make large seed caches which lower reproductive potential. Nutcrackers disseminate seeds throughout the subalpine habitat and are, in part, responsible for the `pioneering' status of whitebark pine. (5) The evolution of wingless seeds and indehiscent cones in the Cembra pine group was probably a consequence of seed dispersal by an ancestral nutcracker form. It appears that the Clark's nutcracker--whitebark pine interaction is both coevolved and mutualistic.
     
  12. Louise Boutin

    Louise Boutin New Member

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    Here is an example of a plant that will ONLY germinate going through an animals digestive track:
    Animals that eat seeds also disperse the seeds when the poop them out. Some plants have even evolved to where they can only propagate with the help of animals. A unique example of this is in the rainforests of Australia. There is a tree that produces egg- sized, purple fruit with a pit (seed) in the center. The seed cannot germinate unless it passes through the digestive tract of a large, primitive bird called a Cassowary.
     
  13. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting articles Daniel. Thank you.
     
  14. Louise Boutin

    Louise Boutin New Member

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    Yes, thank you Daniel, great articles, it was Dr. Worrall in Forestry well dendrology who loved the relationship with pines and Clark's nutcrackers.
     
  15. Louise Boutin

    Louise Boutin New Member

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    Hello Daniel, Did you have a sister in the Landscape Architecture Department ? On another subject related to the Myrica growing from seed; three months on now I have planted the seeds after stratification, the process I followed asked you to put the plant trays in a cold frame. Can I just put the covered trays outside on my deck ? or do you think the cold frame would speed up the growing process ? thank you
     
  16. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I'm afraid I don't know re: cold frame vs. covered trays, but I suspect the covered trays would work now that we are in March...

    And no, no sister in landscape architecture!
     

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