Black seeds

Okay I’ve just opened a rip hip from a cross of ‘Cafe Ole’ x ‘77-361’ and noticed a few of the seeds were black, although the hip looked okay and nothing looked or smelled rotten. Even though I normally do not float test my blackish seeds, I did this time, and all of them sunk with the exception of one. I have ‘Cafe Ole’ growing in a pot and lately I have been stressing it out (less frequent watering, no fertilization, etc.) to haste the rippening of hips. May it be possible that this affected the coloring of the seed coat? I would like to know if this has happen before to anyone and if the seeds will germinate as well as the normal colored seeds.

Does stressing the seed plants do anything to hasten the ripening of seed? That’s news to me. Can anyone elaborate?


I’m curious now. I’ve been pouring the water to my roses with late pollenations hoping it would give 'em a better chance to ripen hips. Do I have it wrong?



I could had sworn that I have read this via a link of another from Paul’s website. This is the first time I have done this, and only with my potted roses; Cafe Ole, Mme. Isaac Periere, Fair Dinkum, Golden Angel, etc,. From what I remember, many plants, especially those of the Solanaceae such as tomatoes, have a built in survival mechanism to ripen fruit when stressed. That could be either damaging a few of the roots, giving it less water, or prunning most fruiting branches. I guess this is a way for nature to make sure a disaster such as a drought won’t completely kill a species out. I have been doing this with ‘Cafe Ole’ for now as those were the only hips that haven’t rippen. I think it was going on to its’ 5th month without much as a streak of yellow on the green. I did this for a month, and about two hips rippened, and the rest are turning to a yellowish color.

Somewhere in the dark part of my mind (wherever that is - LOL) I seem to recall reading that they really reduce the feeding and the watering to force the plant to get the hips ready before the winter sets in. Sounds reasonable as it is probably what Mother Nature is doing in the wild. The first thing our brand spankin’ new sedlings do is to produce a bud which would be a hip if we let it go. Perpetuation of the species is the main thing in the life cycle of a plant. The fall is usually fairly dry in most parts of the country, so if we simulate nature by reducing the water the plant gets it is going to put what energy it has left into getting the seeds ready for the next generation. Any other thoughts??

Yes, in general, reduce amount of water will make the ripening faster. But care, this will probably too reduce the weight of seeds (not embryo size if not too much lack of water)…so less nutrients for germination and early growth.

If there is a very early watering stress, soon after blooming, the young fruits may fall… a nitrogen stress will too make leaves falling, and so after can affect seed weight…

This is coming from what we teach for field crops… True for all plants a priori

I’ve a question about seeds in general. I’ve got an open pollinated hip that I think is ripening but I can’t tell. It’s not changing color but the seeds have swollen and are popping out the top of the hip. Is this ripe or should I let it go longer?

Well, since I have never had any difficulty getting hips to ripen in plenty of time, and the resulting seeds are healthy and large and germinate well, then I will not deviate from my technique. The seed parent plants are watered regularly, fed fairly generously and treated as well as any other rose. The results? Pollinations made in May are almost fully ripened on some plants like ‘Sheri Anne’ and ‘Dresden Doll’, many others soon to follow. If anything, I would prefer to DELAY ripening, so that I can leave hips on the plants until late October. If I collect too early, the seeds tend to germinate in the fridge, which I do not want to happen. I prefer the seeds to do all the germinating in the seeds trays, where they can remain undisturbed for their first 2 sets of leaves.



yes, this seems very pertinent!

if seeds are harvested too soon, their need for cold is less, so they can germinate very early…in the fridge. Early harvesting can be a good way for crosses which usually germinate only very late (on second year)…

stressing plants to have quick ripening is used for crop cultivars selection: e.g.: with spring barley, in greenhouse, you can have 2 generations in a year… as you need 6 or 7 generations of self pollinating to reach correct homozygoty (? sorry for my english!) , the time gain is huge…so economic gain is big too.

I’ve got a question. I’ve been trying to ripen an open pollinated hip and I think it finally ripened because it fell off the plant. The seeds look fine but I’m not sure if they will grow. I was told by someone to float the seeds in water and if they sunk they’d grow. I did that with these seeds and they all floated,none sank. Does that mean that none of them will grow or are they ok?

Erin, I think it depends on the seed parent. Seeds from Frau Dagmar Hartopp float, but they germinate quite well.

That is one of those “rules” that refuses to go away in spite of no scientific evidence to support it and first rate evidence that refutes it.


I’m with Henry: plant them all. Why weed out the floaters? Its a waste of energy to dort the seeds and what can it hurt to sow every one? It’s not like they take up a lot of room! LOL!


Thanks a lot. I’ll plant them all and see what I get.