Big seeds and small seeds!

I’ve always noticed these different sized seeds in hips… the big fully developed seeds and the small seemingly undeveloped ones. I’ve always just thrown them all together and hoped for the best. These all came from the one hip. I’m just wondering whether anyone has tested if any of these small seeds ever actually germinate? They don’t look too bad in this instance (better than most) but I’ve separated them out (only because it was easy) and if there is no real point to trying to germinate them I’ll discard them.



I’m curious about this, too. I had a few germinations this spring that I suspected were from those tiny seeds, but I was germinating in a seed flat so I couldn’t be sure. Maybe you can seed them separately and find out. It would be interesting to see if plants that germinated from the tiny seeds had any lastingly different characteristics than those from the large seed.

I checked some of the small seeds this year and they where not very hard and didn’t appear to have anything inside, so where tossed. Neil

Two yrs ago I came across a similar mix of big/small seeds from 3-4 hips of the same cross. Since I had quite a large total, I decided to separate them into big and small seeds and see how they germinated. About 25% of the small ones germinated and 0 (yes,zero) of the large ones germinated. I kept them for a second yr and a few more of the small ones germinated and none of the large ones germinated. At that point I discarded them all, and I still have 3 seedlings of the small seed batch, very fragrant but once a yr flowering. I only discard what appears to be undeveloped seeds now, and still find small seeds often sprout before their larger seeded siblings.

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That’s interesting. I guess it depends on how small. The real big seeds always seem to have a problem and they don’t taste good. Neil

Sometimes the small seeds are fertile, sometimes not. It seems to depend on the cross. Sometimes I press down on small seeds with my fingernail. If I can dent the seed with my fingernail, it is hollow and won’t germinate.

A few years ago, I separated the small undentable seeds from the large seeds of a cross. The only difference was that the small seeds started germinating sooner than the large seeds.

Hi Jim,

I’ve noticed the same thing. Any of the small ones that don’t have substance to them will generally not germinate. When I used to use ‘Sexy Rexy’, I noted that many of its seeds were very small, but oftentimes smaller seedlings would germinate from them and would do quite well.

I figured that they were the result of doing a wide cross and having many ‘misses’ in the way their DNA paired up. The cross was ‘Nahema’ x ‘Bullseye’ (note it is not ‘Bull’s Eye’… it’s my own wichurana seedling called ‘Bullseye’), as I was hoping to get some of 'Nahema’s amazing perfume into a groundcover/landscape rose. ‘Nahema’ is actually an awesome healthy rose around here but not one that I would generally thought of using due to its parents (‘Grand Siècle’ x ‘Heritage’)… it sounded like a good idea at the time :wink: ‘Nahema’ makes many OP hips filled with these large woody seeds and I’ve had trouble germinating these in a single season in the past. I was also thinking that these seeds might show that some self-pollen managed to contaminate my pollination to make the huge seeds, based on my prior experience with 'Nahema’s huge self seeds, and the successful cross seeds might actually have been the small ones from ‘Bullseye’ as they don’t look or feel (I do the squeeze test on the small ones too but mostly to check for ripeness) like a lot of the smaller seeds I encounter. I’ll pot them separately and see what eventuates.

Well, based on this thread, they’ll all be sown!

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Is that all from one hip???

I going split them also this year…wondering what results it gives.


A small handful of hips. Maybe four or five?

Hi, maybe someone said this already:
If you put them in water, the viable seeds sink right away, and the “duds” float.

I don’t know how reliable that rule is. I wish somebody would plant their floaters and report back on germination %. I plant them all.

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I can only report that for many years in a row I cut open all floating seeds (with the exception of R. rugosa) to see whether the floating was actually due to a missing embryo. And indeed, all the seeds were hollow without a single exception. That had an expressive power for me and I already have too many seeds to continue with this procedure. So I sow all the seeds, regardless of whether they float or not.


That’s what I’ve always done. I also usually generate too many seeds and found testing for floaters to be time utilized for something unnecessary to me. If they don’t germinate, they become part of the organic material in the potting mix. If they do, so much the better.

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