Embryos that are

Please excuse the extreme length of this post…please feel free to discuss the findings I present here…they may not be new findings at all. I cannot know for sure, but they are new to me, so here goes:

What follows are a few observations which seem to be supporting my more recent speculation about some embryos being “physiologically-UNRIPE-for-germination” even though they are derived from ripe hips/achenes…(these I believe are the later germinator siblings).

Please consider these latest observations of mine:

I deliberately collected some totally shrivelled dry-to-the bone hips from some “found rose”, and removed a few embryos from the achenes which looked pretty sad (ie. dullish looking embryos, not plump and pearly white)…remember this is what my Viru-R.clinophylla embryos looked like, most of which died in the jar… WELL…I immersed these “physiologically-UNRIPE-for-germination” embryos in a glass of water continuously for weeks…they did NOT rot!!..actually after about four weeks of this continuous water immersion, they started to sprout radicals and became pearly white, and later germinated into normal seedlings (yes you read it correctly)…and all in a glass of water, without any jar cultures or any other physical or chemical interventions. There was no sign of fungus at all pre, during, and post germination.

To further test this idea, I also collected achenes from a different rose altogether (R.multiflora this time, I must have collected 200 or so achenes altogether) from hips that had maximally colored but not shrivelled…again I came across a lot of these vey dull useless looking embryos…the sort I KNOW do not culture in the jar…they just disintegrate before my eyes after sitting there for a few days doing nothing except collect mould after they die…actually I only found about 2 pearly embryos out of about 30 multiflora achenes!! (so less than 10% “physiologically-RIPE-for-germination” embryo rate if you like)…Remember these hips were not shrivelled so it cannot be a simple “dehydration phenomenon”.

So I took the remaining multiflora achenes from this “less than 10% viability” batch and immersed them continuously in a glass of water, and after about 5-6 weeks, I could see the achene sutures opening up and swollen seeds peeking out of these splits, and…eventually…sprouting has now started to occur out of a few of these very swollen partially split achenes!

To be fair here, I have been doing this “water trick” to germinate my vegetable seeds for years (eg. chili, tomato, cucumber etc etc.). So I figured why not rose??

I then opened up some of these partially split achenes which had not yet actually sprouted, to check out the state of the embryo within. It was real easy to open the achenes up… no need to use box cutter knives etc here…I just simply flicked both halves of the achene open (as they were nearly fully open anyway…lol) using the edge of a pair of scissors (or whatever else similar happened to be lying around)…and exposed the seeds…I removed the testa with great ease, as the testa was pretty much reduced to nothing, and BINGO…there they were…nearly every embryo was pearly white and plump…(compare this to less than 10% from the same batch of achenes which had not received the “water treatment”).

ALL of of these embryos that I removed from their testa coverings are now germinating rapidly in a glass of water…(no jar culture, no chemical additives etc etc)…in fact I could have just as well planted them directly in the seed raising mix, now that I can see how active they are in a glass of water…It is MOST intriguing to me to see that seed rotting does not occur in certain vegetable seed types when sitting in water for many many weeks…yes they go all mouldy and brown and horrible looking, just as these rose achenes did, and…then they sprout…some early, some weeks and weeks later.

I am expecting to see a whole range of sproutings to continue in my little glass of multiflora achenes, now that a few have gone all the way to sprouting. It will be real cool to see how long the longest one will take to germinate.


1.Some rose embryos act like they are “physiologically-UNRIPE-for-germination” when submitted to jar embryo culture, or if planted directly in seed raising mix…whereas other siblings from the same hip germinate almost immediately by either method. I have now (after one year of the occasional dabbling in all this) found such unripe embryos in fairly significant numbers from both well-ripened hips, as well as in overly-ripened/shrivelled hips.

2.Such rose embryos (from R.multiflora and one other “found” rose at least), seem to respond dramatically to being sumberged in water for a period of time, even several weeks…they seem to convert over to “physiologically-RIPE-for-germination” type embryos, which promptly start to germinate even in pure water, once extracted from their swollen and partially split achenes.

3.I speculate (but now with some supporting evidence), that immediate jar embryo culture of such “physiologically-UNRIPE-for-germination” embryos, without regard to “water rescue” therapy risks loss of all the latter embryos. I suspect this is what happened with a batch of R.clinophylla embryos earlier this year, and looking back now, many other similar instances over the past 12 months or so, where I attempted to jar culture (or directly plant) embryos that did not slip out of their testa covering with ease, and generally had a very dull, non-pearly, rather grey and brittle appearance. They died, and supported mould growth upon their death.

4.My observations also lead me to believe that continuous water immersion of R.multiflora achenes, after removing them from their hips, seems a very simple method of cleanly breaking open the achene suture, requiring zero special skill…and with the added bonus of fully activating the population of “physiologically-UNRIPE-for-germination” embryos (these I have now come to expect within any normal population of rose achenes).

R.multiflora achene is one of the easier of the rose achenes to sprout…I selected it because it was the only type I had available to me in sufficiently large numbers, to do this little comparison-type experiment.

It will now be fun for me to try and reproduce this “sprouting in a glass of water” and see if it works more generally on other rose achenes (e.g R.canina R.gigantea and huge HT-type achenes)…nothin’ to lose I guess!

It’d be pretty useful in the huge ones found in some species tha take eons to germinate (or fail to altogether)

Yea, maybe the constant water action might cleave open really tough suture unions as you say…and lead to sprouting in the glass thereafter…who knows.

Truth is, at the moment I have no such achenes to test out…but anyone can now try it out for themselves and let us know if it was a worthwhile thing…the main thing would be not to be tricked into thinking that the seed has rotted becasue of its moulded and dark appearance…this is a normal development. If it will work, it will take TIME which of itslef requires no expenditure of resources.


I almost got goose-bumps reading about your discoveries. I can hardly wait to try it out with some rose seeds I’ve got laying around. I just never had thought to try water-soaking with rose seeds, even though I routinely soak iris seeds for weeks sometimes and also vegetable seeds like you mentioned. Thank you very much for sharing your findings. I’ll let you know if I have any luck with my seeds.


Hi Tom.

Yea, hope it proves useful to some people, that’s why I decided to let y’all know what I had noticed…time will tell whether this is a reproducible thing.

The main reason for me developing this embryo thread here, rather than just give up the ghost (after the initial novelty factor wore off), was more to try and figure out what embryos like and dislike, and how a real simple solution might one day possibly be found for germinating difficult-type rose achenes, which a child could do. I do find embryo extractions rather repetitive tedious and extremely uninspiring, however in this regard, embryo work has grown to be more like a “research tool” in my case.

I can see the day soon when I will not be using embryo work much at all, once it has answered the questions it has itself raised in my mind about rose achenes/seeds/embryos.

Just my views, that’s all…please feel free to comment/criticize/throw bricks… wateva LOL.