I have been collecting the early hips and storing them in zip lock bags in a cupboard (warm stratification)and now the hips have developed mold and gone soft.
These are pre harvest time hips(today is 120 days +)Collected as they appeared to be going to fall and stored at ? high temp. I intended to collect the mature hips and add to the bags then continue warm stratification until cleaning and refrigerating in may.
The level of mold has made me question my plans and ask for advice.
Is the mould a problem?
Should I clean the seeds now?
Should I keep the mature seeds separate?
Would I be better to refrigerate all hips to avoid molds forming in the future? (temps. will start to drop now and will be around 10-25deg.C range)for the next month.
Any other suggestions will be appreciated.
My impression is that warm stratification really implies getting the achenes out of the hips, into a medium that doesn’t support growth of nasty molds. Otherwise you might as well leave them laying out to rot where they are, or on the bush. Generally germination is lower from moldy hips and those that fall early, at least in my garden. When I have a big crop I sometimes collect these and process them after a time in the refrigerator, along with the unspoiled fully mature hips. Sometimes I get a few and sometimes a moderate fraction to germinate.
What did you do in previous years with the storage of such hips? Also, where are you located?
I am in the western Riverina where it gets very hot. This could be a reason to avoid warm storage here.
Last year was the first time I collected them and they went straight in the fridge and then the mature hips were added as harvested.
I was intending to use the warm stratification technique as I have seen many posts on this forum suggesting that it has merit.
I store all hips together in ziplock bags in the refrigerator until everything is harvested and then seeds are extracted and put into cold storage. If you want to do warm storage first, I would remove the seeds from the hips as was suggested by Larry.
As an experiment, I recently let one batch of 74 floribunda achenes stratify at room temperature, after removing them and cleaning them, as air-dried seed.
Just today, (approximately 6 weeks later) I embryo-extracted all of them, and the embryos were just fine.
So drying the achenes (which have been removed from the hips and cleaned) indoors at room temperature and out of plastic bags should be a safe method to warm stratify the achenes.
If it was me, and I wanted to warm stratify, then I would open these mouldy hips you describe, remove and clean the achenes, and then warm stratify them at room temperature indoors, (but not in a plastic bag), for as long as you want. My gut instinct tells me the embryos are going to be damaged if left to rot inside these hips that are rotting in the plastic bag. Just my opinion.
Thanks all for the replies
I have just removed the achnes from a some of these hips and they were the easiest I have ever cleaned. (just squeeze with the fingers and the seeds fall out) It is not really mould but just the rotting of the case.
They seem to be in excellent condition with no faults visible.
Now I dont know whether to finish cleaning the seeds or
just put them in the fridge as is.
Not to nitpick too much, but stratification means laying in layers, strata. The original was to lay the hips in the ground over winter. Dry storage is different because the embryo recognizes the change of water potential and goes into perhaps a different state of dormancy. The purpose of the moist stratification is to activate enzymes that soften the achene suture, and to let the embryo know that it has left the hip and is not in a germination medium of some sort. Dry storage up to several years leaves the embryo in a suspended animation, from which it may rapidly respond with germination after getting moist and , usually, cool to a reasonable temperature of a few degrees C for a while.