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 Post subject: Seed Identification
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:15 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:50 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Ireland
Thought I'd try some timber bamboo seeds in Dublin just to see what they could do. Decided on Phyilostachys edulis (Moso) and Philostachys Nigra and bought from 2 companies on amazon. Both packages arrived on on the same day. The Moso crowd had thrown in a bonus pack of Bambusa arundinacea (Spiny) seeds too. So I ended up with 3 hard bamboo varieties.

Now I'm the farthest thing from an expert, but the Black seeds are so very different from the Moso or Spiny! The Moso are the comically oversized common grass seed I had imagined. The Spiny are more compact and shiny, but still share some common characteristics with the Moso. The Black on the other hand is flat instead of round, with papery rim. The seed body inside only comprises ~1/2 of it's dimensions.
Image Image
The Nigras don't look like they're in the same Family as the Mosos, let alone the same Genus. I've got a sample of each variety germinating for 4days, I will still be waiting a few days to see what, if anything, springs out. Meanwhile I've been scouring the net for seed variety images. I found a seed database linked from this forum. The Nigra seed images there don't look much like mine. But I appreciate that bamboo has a lot variation and I've no experience with this. However, if I wait-and-see, it'll be the end of summer before I find out.

Can someone with the skill please tell me if these Philostachys Nigra seeds are suspect?
FABLE


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 Post subject: Re: Seed Identification
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:16 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 26, 2012 10:09 am
Posts: 242
Location: Austria
I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but those supposed nigra seeds are definitely not phyllostachys seeds.

Because it is so rare for phyllostachys to flower and seeds only have a very short shelf life (generally you'd want to use them within a year as the germination rate drops quite dramatically) you can only expect to get real seeds from varieties that are flowering/have flowered very recently or where there are a lot of genetically different cultivars (there is lots of moso grown so while a single plant may only flower once in a few decades there can be multiple different plants flowering regularly).

Aside from this it is likely that phyllostachys nigra (var punctata / var. nigra) seeds, if you indeed were able to get a hold of some, will not grow into a plant where the culms turn black with age.

My best advice is to get small plants from a reputable source or if you really want to grow from seed find someone that is not just a re-seller (like most people on the internet when it comes to bamboo seeds) but actually has access to the flowering plants and can give you fresh seeds.


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 Post subject: Re: Seed Identification
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:50 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Ireland
Thank you Nicholas, I suspected those were just to different.
The vendor has nothing but good revues on Amazon (other than the expected germination complaints), so maybe it was just a packaging mistake.


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 Post subject: Re: Seed Identification
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 4:26 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 1:28 pm
Posts: 1606
Location: HALIFAX, NS
Very well put Nicholas!

Fable, it might be worth an email to the seller to see the response.

john

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 Post subject: Re: Seed Identification
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:05 am
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Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
I seriously doubt it was a packaging mistake. Contact the seller and tell him you received something else completely different.

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 Post subject: Re: Seed Identification
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:46 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:50 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Ireland
vendor2 seems confident that these are Phyllostachys Nigra. Pictures fail to capture just how different these seeds are. They're flat like stingrays and a lot lighter. Really hope I manage to sprout one at least long enough to seem what comes out!
Any bets? :D


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 Post subject: Re: Seed Identification
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:15 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2015 11:42 pm
Posts: 55
Location: PA, Arbor Day Zone SIX, baby!
FABLE wrote:
Thank you Nicholas, I suspected those were just to different.
The vendor has nothing but good revues on Amazon (other than the expected germination complaints), so maybe it was just a packaging mistake.


My opinion is that most positive feedback for seed sellers on eBay and Amazon come from people who received their seeds on time (like you). The positive feedback has long since been posted by the time you've gone through all the proper germination steps.


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 Post subject: Re: Seed Identification
PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2016 10:55 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:50 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Ireland
Went ahead and order some nigra from the vendor which shipped me the Moso (probably should have just done that to begin with). These new nigra seeds are very similar to the Moso seeds.
http://prnt.sc/boeyb9

So far I haven't gotten any of the original seeds (from either vendor) to sprout. I've been laying them 5 each at a time, wet paper-towel, 26c in the dark. The Moso especially seems vulnerable to mold. I've soaked the latest batch in hydrogen peroxide solution, read that it helps. Everywhere says bamboo seed is weak, so I'm not really dissapointed yet. May never find out what these mystery seeds are at this rate though.
Despite arriving a week behind the other seeds, the new P. Nigra Punctata are the first to produce a viable sprout. Quite pleased because, of the breeds I'm interested in, it is meant to be the hardest to find viable seed for. Guess I have to wait 3-4years to find out if it inherited those prized black culms.
http://prnt.sc/boeypm

I dropped it into a sprouting pellet when it first emerged. It's tap root poked through the bottom today and this photo is just after being moved to a 1/2 liter pot of erinaceous. I'll upgrade to a larger pots in a few weeks. Happy with keeping them inside for a year to help the root mass develop if the culms stay short enough. I've read that bamboo can struggle with drier interior air, but that's not a problem we really suffer from in Ireland :D


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 Post subject: Re: Seed Identification
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:48 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:05 am
Posts: 1251
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
I think it's most likely not P. nigra, but it does look like Phyllostachys seeds. My bet would be Moso, but if you were lucky, you might have gotten something else. :) You will know more in a year or so, possibly sooner. Moso has distinctive large leaves and soon gets the fuzzy culms.

I've been writing on my blog about growing bamboo seedlings. Before that, I used another forum for day-by-day growing log, but the pictures no longer exist and without them, the whole thing became pointless. You can check the blog, might be helpful, at least in the beginning.

And remember...
If there's something you don't know, you can always ask, there are stupid questions and no-one was born bamboo guru.
Do not care for your bamboo seedlings too much. Too much love will kill them. Moso especially. :mrgreen: Been there, killed most of them.

Good luck and have fun! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Seed Identification
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:03 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:50 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Ireland
The P. Nigra seeds I bought from an independent seller on amazon are extremely suspect when compared to photos in the seed index.
But I've no reason to doubt the authenticity of any of the packets from Tropical-Seeds so far. They seem to match the images I've seen very well.

Mystery Seeds: no live sprouts from 15seeds
Bambusa Arundinacea Spiny: no live sprouts yet from 15seeds
Phyllostachys Edulis Moso: no live sprouts yet from 15seeds
Phyllostachys Nigra Punctata: one live sprout from 10seeds. Seed opened July 1st and appears to be doing well. Sprout has been pure white and showed no early leaf formation, but began taking on a little colour this evening.

I'm quite new to this and would definitely have a read through your blog. Do you have a link?


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 Post subject: Re: Seed Identification
PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:09 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:05 am
Posts: 1251
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
http://cold-hardy.com

It pokes out yellow, but will get green as it grows. Perfectly normal. There are albino seedlings that die off, because they fail to produce chloroplasts (green pigment), but if it's coloring, it will be ok.

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 Post subject: Re: Seed Identification
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:03 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:50 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Ireland
Yeah as soon as I asked, I realized the link was already attached to your signature. Thanks it's very interesting.

The Nigra sproutling seems to be doing well from what little I can tell. I'm imagining most of the action is happening below the soil at this point. It sorta burst the top of its sprouting-cube and the shaft is coming out at an angle. Perhaps I should have put the sprout deeper in it, but I was too concerned about damaging it.

I got to watch the shoot drift from white to rose to this purplish colour over the course of a day. Which was entertaining, but I'll be a lot happier when some leaves unfurl to prove it's a fully viable seed. Can I expect that little green bud on the top to open up soon?
http://prnt.sc/bpcmnl http://prnt.sc/bpct0s


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 Post subject: Re: Seed Identification
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:08 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:05 am
Posts: 1251
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
About repotting small bamboos - do not put into a container that is too large. It's better to gradually up-pot it to a larger size. It's way better to keep it slightly crowded than to drown it in a large pot where roots can't get rid of excess soil moisture.
Do not put it too deep. It's bamboo, it will go as deep as it wants to, especially when it starts growing rhizomes (perhaps a year from now). Roots need to remain inside the soil, it will direct the pre-rhizome growth downwards as well, but not necessarily, it feels just as good if it remains exposed on top of the soil. I personally sometimes cover that with thin layer of peat or soil, just to protect it from excessive heat and sunlight. If you plant it too deep, it will need more energy to push out new shoots and in this phase, seedling needs the energy more than ever, any planting it too deep will cost it a lot of wasted energy.
Shoots will come out at an angle for quite a while. Until the shoots are mature, they will often push out spears that way.

Leaves will unfold in 3 to 5 days on a small seedling. Depends on temperature, light level, sunlight (light) duration and seedling's health. In 3 to 5 weeks, you can expect the first shoot, when there are 4 to 6 leaves on the original stem. Also depends greatly on environmental factors mentioned above and seedling's health and genetics. I've had (and still have) a seedling that started shooting earlier and managed to outperform any other seedling I've ever seen with unbelievable numbers of shoots poking out early in the life of a seedling. It's still vigorous after I transplanted it, but things slow down considerably after it leaves the completely juvenile phase, during which, it shoots every month or two.

Do not worry too much about the seedlings. Sometimes they will look bad, but they tend to bounce back if you don't start flooding them with excess water and fertilizers. Just in case, you can always ask here on the forum.

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 Post subject: Re: Seed Identification
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:13 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:50 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Ireland
Thank you Tarzanus,
This is all very helpful. The lifecycle of bamboo is so alien compared to the average garden plant it could be the plot-line of a bad sci-fi novel!

I'm starting them off under a 150w CFL in a small indoor enclosure that started loads of flowers and herbs no bother. It maintains a steady 70-80f and +50rh. Only 2.5ft from lamp to floor though and the 1/2litre pots take 6" of that up. So they probably can't stay in there too long. I plan to keep them in pots for a year or two. Our winters are pretty mild but I'll still winter them indoors while I can.

I'm looking for reliable information regarding soil conditions. Recommended PH levels, root temperatures, nutrient strength, container depth/area, and whether these vary much between my selected breeds.

It seems like bamboo doesn't root as deeply as the average tall plant, but wants more surface area to spread across? I was thinking of gradually potting them 'out' more than potting them 'up' to accommodate a little rhizome spread.

Ideally I'm looking for 2-3 healthy specimens each from 3-5 timber grade species to weather fully outdoors in 2018. Those that recover well by summer 2019 leave their pots for a chance to compete with each other for 2acres of inconveniently situated pastureland.


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 Post subject: Re: Seed Identification
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:09 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:05 am
Posts: 1251
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
I've kept my latest P. arcana 'Luteosulcata' seedlings in even smaller pots for around 6 months. Way too long, but I have to say, they (especially one), were growing unnaturally fast. You should see slightly slower growth, so I guess you're safe for at least 6 months.
If your winters are warm, place them out the following season. They will upsize a lot and as temperate bamboos, they need a dormancy period. Winter will actually make them grow faster and more healthy in the spring. Keep them inside max up to 1 year (their first winter). Use wire mesh to prevent voles and other above and below ground critters when you do plant them out.

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