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Bismarkia & Wodyetia Seeds

Kerrville, TX

Hello,
Just received these seeds and was surprised at the hardness of the outer shells. Tried sandpaper to abrade the shell, then tried a hand saw. Wasn't satisfied with the progress. Then used a drill bit, had to change to a sharper bit. Finally got past the outer husk, and drilled half a dozen holes.
Next morning the Bismarkia seeds had sunk to the bottom of the soaking container. Only one of the Wodyetia has sunk.
Therefore, am I on the right track?
What are my chances for germination.

San Tan Valley, AZ(Zone 9a)

Every Bismarckia seed I have ever sown sprouted with no special treatment at all so if they are viable they should sprout. Be patient though, it can take a long time, up to a year. No experience with the Wodyetia. Here is a picture of one of my seedlings sown directly in the ground.

This message was edited May 9, 2013 10:01 PM

Thumbnail by QCHammy
Kerrville, TX

Thank you for the response. Since I didn't make an attempt to remove the shell, I thought I needed to breach it some way. From what you say, maybe I didn't need to do anything.
Hope it doesn't take a year.

San Tan Valley, AZ(Zone 9a)

Most of them I have sown in the ground took 6 months or less to sprout. The only one that took a year was one I put in a large plastic pot.

noonamah, Australia

I collected some Bismarkia seeds from under a tree that produces prolifically. The ground underneath has lots of seedlings but they get mown regularly. I potted them up without any treatment but 6 months later there's still no sign of emerging life. I suspect I might have picked up dead seed (I have the same luck with Lotto numbers, LOL). I already have a few small Bismarkias but thought it would be interesting to get some up from seed.

I have a young Wodyetia which has started producing seed. Seedlings have been coming up under the parent tree but I've been digging them up and giving them away. So they seem to germinate easily without treatment as well.

Acton, CA(Zone 8b)

One of your Bismarckia problems is Bismarckias come in two sexes, and without a male around, seed will always be sterile.

Kerrville, TX

OK people. When I developed this interest in growing from seed, this Spring, I was 75 years old. I am now becoming convinced that for Palms germination may take a very long time. And then I find that some Palms are very slow growing---a year here, and a year there, is much different than when I was forty.
Anyhow, I have sown 10 Christmas Palm seeds, around the 22nd of March. I have 3 sprouts, the largest is just under 3 1/2". They are in my little tabletop greenhouse, on a heat pad, with a fluorescent light. For me, this is encouraging.
Back to the Foxtail & Bismarck---- I can't imagine a seedling pushing its way through that shell, nor the time it would take to break it down. So, there must be an area on the seed that can be breached by the seedling. Looking at the Bismarck, the suspect area would be that end that has the strand-like, fibrous end (the seed stem end?)
With that in mind, are ovoid shaped seeds planted on the long axis, the side, rather than an end? Seems to me that would be their natural orientation when hitting the ground.

Acton, CA(Zone 8b)

orientation does not seem to be a big deal with palm seeds... no matter what position they are in, the new growth radicle grows downward and roots

noonamah, Australia

There's a lot of variability with palm seeds. I've got a lot going at the moment. One lot started September last year with still no sign of life.

Another species I got 2 seeds germinating in 2 weeks and now the seedlings are about 50 - 60 millimetres tall after just over a month. The rest of that species aren't showing any signs of life.

Two other species have had 2 seeds each put out radicles but nothing above ground yet after about a month. Of the rest 2 more have only just started putting out a radicle, the others showing no sign of life.

And another species had 3 germinate within 3 weeks, two of those have 40 - 50 millimetre shoots above ground whislt the third has only the radicle.

Another 7 or so species haven't shown any sign of anything.

It doesn't pay to take anything for granted with palms, nor to be in a hurry.

Kerrville, TX

Hello Tropicbreeze,
These beans certainly are cautious and deliberate about their business of growing a tree. They are not on a human schedule.
I guess your germinating procedure allows you to see the radicle. Mine are not loose in a medium. Since I am not experienced, I put them in a 'pot' to germinate. The thought being that I don't have to handle them again to 'plant' them. I'm using plastic bottles (soda, milk, bottled water) with a cap, to maintain moisture. When I want to, I can cut off the bottom, add a mating bottle bottom, with more medium, to extend the rooting length. Same for the top. And if I live long enough, I can slice the bottle down its length, when it becomes time to put them in a permanent pot. They will always be potted.
I'm sure this is not conventional, but in my ignorance, it seems the safer way to go.
My germinating greenhouses, besides the commercial tabletop, are plastic food containers, with as much height as I can find, and a top. Actually, since I germinate in a bottle, with cap, each bottle is a greenhouse, just needing heat.

Kerrville, TX

Hello,
Well, one of the Bismarkias (nob.) is doing something. about a month & 1/2 ago, I noticed smaller brownish roots circling around the bottom of the 'pot'. A month ago I saw much larger,
whitish roots. Today I was able to see the largest of this size root (radicle?) running down from the seed.

The question: How long does it take, from this point, before the seed decides that something should be growing out of the top?
Thanks.

noonamah, Australia

Interestingly enough I had a lot of Bismarkia seed in pots. They had taken so long that I finally gave up and just left them out in the garden. The other week I noticed there was a 100mm shoot coming up out of one of the pots, nothing out of the others. That was after about 14 months, but I don't know when germination actually commenced.

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