Ophiopogon chingii - NOT! (actually O. umbraticola)

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

Experiment in progress; I harvested the berries on Ophiopogon umbraticola, half were sown as whole berries, the other half are being soaked for a few days so that they can soften and the pulp removed from the seed, and then to be sown. 

A parting view, just before harvesting the berries... they pluck off at the slightest touch, and a few had already started to wither and drop off.  Oooh, such pretty seeds/berries.

Sowing the whole berries in good compost, then covered with a thin layer of soil and a layer of decomposed bark mulch, protected with wire mesh from digging chipmunks and squirrels.

The other half of the berries being soak.  On their second day of soaking, they're still firm and buoyant, maybe I should add a few drops of liquid dish soap.

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

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Truly, a gem!

About how many seeds are there in a berry?

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

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

RickR wrote:

Truly, a gem!

About how many seeds are there in a berry?

I don't know how many yet, I've never done the seed soak thing with this plant.  I'll report back :)

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

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

As promised I'm reporting back.  The berry-like seeds were soaked for a week but seemed resistant to softening.  Then a freak Halloween snowstorm arrived and we lost power for 5 days, and I forgot about the soaking seed (had more important things to worry about).  Today I remembered about the soaking seed, the water was a bit putrid, but I rinsed and finished peeling off the skins. If what I'm seeing is indeed the seed, they're just hard white pearls, like tiny pearl onions, with nothing inside when held up to the light.  But the experiment preparation is done, the seed was sown.  We'll see what happens in 2012. :)

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

Afloden
Title: Guest
Joined: 2012-01-15

Mark,

That is what the Ophiopogon seed is like! We collected about 12 accessions in Vietnam and all but one keys to x intermedia (I doubt it, look at the number of synonyms and the distribution).

But, I agree that the plant in cultivation as chingii is umbraticola. I keyed these out 1.5 years ago, when I collected and sowed a lot of seed. I have a few plants to show now. Not sure how they got to chingii.

Aaron

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

Afloden wrote:

Mark,

That is what the Ophiopogon seed is like! We collected about 12 accessions in Vietnam and all but one keys to x intermedia (I doubt it, look at the number of synonyms and the distribution).

But, I agree that the plant in cultivation as chingii is umbraticola. I keyed these out 1.5 years ago, when I collected and sowed a lot of seed. I have a few plants to show now. Not sure how they got to chingii.

Aaron

Glad to gain your concensus on the ID.  I had contacted Plant Delights Nursery with my belief that O. "chingii" of Hort was actually O. umbraticola, it was a fascinating process working with them; their vetting process is painstakingly thorough, I wish more nurseries were so interested and diligent in their plant identifications as PDN is. As their plants had finished flowering during our multi-week review process, I took flowering stems, tapped them to paper with a 1 mm grid that I drew up, and scanned the floral details into high-resolution images for close-hand examination. They use a detailed spreadsheet comparing the likely candidates from a field of +60 species of Ophiopogon, with columns for each and every reported plant characteristic, grading the subject plant ID against each. impressive!  Ultimately they agreed it comes closest to O. umbraticola.

Good to know about Ophiopogon seed, I more or less figured it out once I peeled the skin off ;)

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

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

Following up on my seed experiment, sowing seed of O. umbraticola, about 30 seeds sown as whole "berries" and an equal quantity soaked and the skin removed before sowing, the first seedlings just appeared (this is most definitely a summer germinator); so far 3 seedlings from the skin-removed side, 6 seedlings on the whole-berry side.  But, it is probably a bit early for a count, I will report back as potentially more germination occurs.       

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

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

The jury is in, regarding my little experiment, it definitely seems better to sow whole berries of O. umbraticola (possibly true for other Ophiopogon species as well) rather than soaking and de-skinning them.  I don't think I'll see much more germination, only 3 seedlings on the cleaned seed side, and 8 seedlings on the"whole berry" side.  I'm happy to have 11 more young plants of this ultra-slow-growing Ophiopogon that doesn't increase vegetatively.

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

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

It seems the whole berry seedlings are a bit more vigorous, or emerged earlier, too?

Perhaps this first generation might grow a little faster.  We can only hope...

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

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

RickR wrote:

It seems the whole berry seedlings are a bit more vigorous, or emerged earlier, too?

Both types (cleaned seed vs. whole berry) emerged the same day, then a few more of the whole berry seed germinated.  Last year's seedlings are growing well enough, in spite of our hot and very dry summer so far.

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

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