Tom's Blog

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bird's foot violet seeds ready

Bird's foot violet (Viola pedata) is one of those great early spring prairie plants. (See my post of May 17.) On one of our remnants we have a nice large patch that has been there for many years. It is an ideal place to collect bird's foot violet seeds.

However, collecting these violet seeds is an exercise in frustration. The tiny seed pods remain closed until the seeds are ripe, at which time the pods open and the seeds are shot into the air. The trick is to catch them just "before" they open. But when will that be?

Today the seed pods were almost 90% open! However, there were so many plants that Kathie was able to make a good haul. The photo here shows a seed pod that had opened but for some reason had not lost its seeds yet. A number of the other pods had not opened but should do so overnight in the dry paper bag they are being stored in. We should have a reasonable amount of seed to plant on Toby's or the Ridge Prairie, both dry site prairies.

When should you plant bird's foot violet seeds? It seems reasonable that they should be planted right away. After all, that is what is happening right now in nature. So sometime in the next few days we will find some good locations in these two prairies to put the seeds down.

We have raised these violets in the greenhouse. The seeds germinate well, the plants transplant well, and they become easily established in new areas. In fact, they often flower the first year they are transplanted.


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