Thursday, June 17, 2010

Peyote seedlings – Big Bend, Texas and Camargo, Chihuahua varieties

Late last year I ordered my first seed ever from Köhres-Kakteen (coinciding with ordering my first ever Lophophora alberto-vojtechii seeds ;-)

Dichotomous peyote seedling (var. Big Bend, Texas)
Dichotomous peyote seedling (var. Big Bend, Texas)

After this winter’s freezing disaster I’m glad I decided to order seeds of the northernmost form of peyote as this “strain” (a.k.a. Lophophora williamsii var. echinata) is known to be more frost tolerant than other varieties of peyote. For growing in my coldhouse I ordered Lophophora williamsii v Big Bend, Texas and Lophophora williamsii v Camargo, Chihuahua seeds from Köhres’s list – I’m not entirely sure if the Camargo variety classifies as echinata but it originates from the western extremity of peyote’s range, pretty far to the north, so I expect it to be able to “rough it out” in my unheated greenhouse.

Dichotomous peyote seedling (var. Big Bend, Texas), close-up
Dichotomous peyote seedling (var. Big Bend, Texas), close-up

One of the “Big Bend” peyote seedlings turned out as dichotomous (branching, two-headed). The first time I experienced a dichotomous seedling I was really excited and expected it to continue branching and develop into a crest. Today I know that in a few years I will probably not be able to distinguish it from the other seedlings in the (by then) crowded seedling pot ;-)

Peyote seedling (var. Camargo, Chihuahua) with spent seed husk
Peyote seedling (var. Camargo, Chihuahua) with spent seed husk

The small, feathery spines are typical for Lophophora williamsii seedlings – according to Boke and Anderson seedling tubercles bear three to six plumose spines, numbers that correspond well with what I observe in my seedlings (the odd areole having seven spines). With age these spines are gone, replaced by tufts of trichomes.

The plants pictured above were started from seed April 5, 2010 and the pictures were taken June 14, 2010 – exactly 10 weeks later (approximately two months after most of the seed had germinated).

11 comments:

  1. Beautifull this peyote seedlings, with this primitive spines.

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  2. Looks nice. I hope it grows well. Cold hardy?

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  3. Yes, as mentioned above Lophophora williamsii var. echinata is known to be more cold hardy than regular peyote. Del Weniger wrote about regular peyote dying off during winter in San Antonio, Texas while the echinata variety, growing in the same bed, survived without a mark - this corresponds well with my experience this winter where large parts of my peyote collection was killed by frost but the majority of my echinata plants survived...

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  4. Hola, ojalá entiendas de alguna forma mi mensaje. Hace 10 días que germinó la 1a de 22 semillas de lophophora williamsii var. menchaca, primero se empezaron a poner naranjas/rojas asi que puse una tela sobre el envase para que no pasara tanta luz, ahora las 16 plantulas estan verdes, pero han crecido hacia arriba en lugar de hacia los lados, no se si sea etiolación, o sea el desarrollo natural de la planta, y como soy inexperto en el tema, y por el contrario, se ve que tu conoces bastante del tema, te pido tu opinión. te dejo una imagen: http://img15.imageshack.us/img15/2625/dsc00779re.jpg

    olen.uksi (at) gmail.com

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  5. Olen, sorry for the late reply. Your seedlings look slightly etiolated but nothing to worry about. I would expose them to a bit more light, though.

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  6. Hi,
    I just wanted to say thanks for all the information on your blog. I am an avid Lophophora grower as well, much less success in the grafting field. I thought I'd pass on an interesting result I got with my last germination trial with two different sources of L. williamsii seed. One set of seed was from Cactus Heaven, the other from plants I grew myself so the results I obtained are not based on the seed source. I was trying to reduce chances of damping off which I normally control with a mild fungicide and very mild (0.15%) H2O2. I mixed up two bottles and accidently put 3% H2O2 into the tray I had the germinating seeds in (I don't water from the top, but allow capillary action to wick the solutions up the mesh pots I use). I realized my mistake almost a week later and diluted the solution down to 1.5% but then noticed that I had remarkably high germination rates with seedlings that looked quite healthy if not a little more elongated than is normal. Here are the results (the seedlings are still just as healthy now a month later, no more H2O2 treatments):

    Cactus Heaven seeds: 49/50 germinate (all still alive)
    Seeds collected myself: 37/39 germinated (again all still healthy to date)

    Do you know of any reports regarding H2O2 effects on germination in these plants?

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  7. I have to get me some hydrogen peroxide ;-) Seriously, thanks for sharing this observation Coaxihuitl. I've googled the subject and there seem to be evidence that hydrogen peroxide indeed has a beneficial effect on germination rates (I found an article describing improved germination rates for oil seeds, but need to dig deeper into the subject... also it would be interesting to learn why exactly the oxidizing properties of hydrogen peroxide seem to improve germination).

    The interested reader can find the full account of Coaxihuitl's results here.

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  8. So did the dichotomous seedling grow into a normal looking plant or did it divide into two heads ?

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    1. The seedlings are growing in my coldhouse, a few hundred kilometers from here, so I do not have ready access to the plants. But I would expect the dichotomous seedling to have grown into two heads - living in a crowded pot it will probably not be distinguishable from the other plants until they are repotted though.

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  9. would be interesting to learn why exactly the oxidizing properties of hydrogen peroxide seem to improve germination).

    scarifies the seed coat lets water in you can do it with a tiny knife and a steady hand

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