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Collecting seeds

Acacia species (wattles)

Autumn is the best time to collect wattle seeds. The seeds are released as the pods ripen, so collect the pods when they are turning brown. Remove the seeds by splitting the pods open along the seam of the pod. Some pods burst open with such force that they send the seeds flying- on quiet, hot days you may even hear them exploding! seed pod

Wattle seeds have a very hard seed coat that has to be ruptured before the seed can absorb water and germinate. One way to break the seed coat is to soak the seeds in near-boiling water and allow to cool. Discard any floating seeds before planting.

banksia coneAnother method to facilitate water uptake involves rubbing the untreated seed between sandpaper to abrade the hard seed coat. This is termed scarification treatment

Banksia species

Collect woody banksia fruits which are at least one year old and have lots of large, velvety bumps called follicles - the seeds are inside these bumps.

The follicles of many banksia species open and release the seeds only after they are heated, as in a bushfire. You can copy nature by baking the cones in the oven at 100°C for about 20 minutes. Remove the seeds when the fruits have cooled by using tweezers or gently knocking the fruits on a hard surface.

Callistemon species (bottlebrushes)

The woody fruits of bottlebrushes stay on the plant for 2 to 3 years before they release the seeds. To collect seeds select old fruits lower down the branches (with capsules still tightly closed), place them in a brown paper bag and leave in a warm spot. After a few days the seeds will be released. You can then plant them without any special treatment.

Eucalyptus species (gums)

gum nuts

As gumnuts mature they change from green to brown and woody. Pick the brown woody fruits and place them in a paper bag in a warm position. The gumnuts release the seeds as they ripen. Separate the seeds from the chaff by gently blowing away the chaff. Eucalyptus seeds generally take about 2 weeks to germinate

Xerochrysum (Helichrysum) species (paper daisies)

Catch them if you can! These seeds have little parachutes for dispersal by wind. Collect the old flower heads when they are looking fluffy. If you are going to store the seeds for a while, place the dry seeds in a dark jar in the fridge for a couple of days to kill any insects. Most daisy seed is best used when it is fresh. It generally germinates within a few days or possibly a little longer.

A few tips...

Store the seeds in a dark, cool place in a dry, airtight container. A relative humidity level of 16% or less is ideal. Write on the package the name of the plant, the date and the place where you collected the seed.

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