Saturday, March 22, 2014

conical cotyledons

Windy weather is good for threshing seed, and so it was that I found myself sorting through and threshing last years string beans in preparation for this years planting. The harvest from last fall included beans of several different varieties, including my favorite, haricot verts (or french style green beans).

With the pod shell removed, the hard and shiny bean seeds fell easily into the container, and I tossed them in the air to let the wind carry away any bits of chaff, leaving me with a nice tray of seed.

At closer inspection, I noticed something strange.

I've been collecting my bean seed for years. There are times I order new varieties to plant, but I normally save the last harvest of the fall. Threshing and sorting bean seed allows time to look at and admire their beauty. This is the first time I've ever noticed this oddity. The cotyledons are not, ahem, normal. They are conical or tapered at the tips. They are pointy. So pointy, in fact, that they have split their seed coats. Look:

Efforts to find information about the cause of this peculiarity have been fruitless. In an attempt to see if the seed would be viable, I slipped them in between a damp paper towel and they entered the zip lock chamber for a germination test.

No problems there! Inside of 3 days, the embryos emerged and the beans seed appeared healthy and ready to grow.

Since I only had a handful of these, I decided to feed them to the chickens (who, btw, were very happy that they were tossed in their direction). And just as the last one was eaten, I had the thought that I should have saved a few seeds to plant (isolated from the regular patch) just to see what the next generation's seed would have looked like.

Too late now!


Donna Hardy said...

I've been reading your blog with interest as I'm looking for some heirloom flax seeds. I have Marilyn, but am looking for older varieties and thought you might be able to offer some ideas. Thanks for any help!

Donna Hardy
indigo grower

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a handsome chicken you have there. What kind is it? I don't grow much food here. I should since I like to eat so much. ;)

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