Five Cotyledons

This is the first time that I have seen five cotyledons on a new seedling. I will try to take a photo tomorrow. Yes, it is from a Hulthemia cross.

Jim Sproul

Okay, so here are a couple of photos.

At first I thought that it might have a “blind shoot”, but there is a small leaflet forming. This is definitely an oddball!

Jim Sproul

Actually, it is easier to see with this image

Jim Sproul

Wild! Will be interesting to see what comes of it.

You can call this one Kali, or Shakti! (I think this is the result of to much dosa with coconut chutney for breakfast). Jackie

That is so odd, I once had one with three but five is so unusual. Thanks for sharing that with us Jim.

Robert, I’ll keep track of this one to see if there is anything unusual about the full grown seedling itself.

There have only been 17 germinations from this group and besides this one, there are 2 others that have 3 cotyledons. Jeanie, I had never seen more than 3 before either.

Jackie, that is funny!

Jim Sproul

Call it LUCKY because it thinks its a five leaf clover.


Hi Patrick,

Good name!

Now that it is developing more leaves, it looks like it is going to be one of those strange seedlings that doesn’t know how to make stems… After the 5 cotyledons, it made 5 new leaflets, and it looks like it is making another cluster of leaflets without getting any taller.

Jim Sproul

Sometimes they do grow out of that tho. Definitely an oddball.

Hi Jim.

The closest I have come to this was a 4 cotyledon seedling from 'Flower Carpet-white"x op, recently. I just checked on it and it has died…LOL

It just sat there and did nothing for a few weeks after it germinated!


Hi George,

Yeah, the oddballs tend to not perform well! This one is still producing leaves but no stem…I wonder if it thinks it’s a hosta! hahaha!


This Persian Autumn OP seedling from last season does the same thing, although I don’t know how many cotyledons it had. It eventually built up a ‘stalk’ but there are no real stems.


Looks like a nature made bonsai! Like it!


Don, that is very interesting! Hopefully, you will get some blooms this year. Some Hulthemias take 3-4 years to bloom.

Jim, I have a repeat bloomer that is something like this, with very short internodal spacing and thought the same thing about it - that it would be good to use for bonsai.

I wonder if this is an effect of incompatibility between modern roses and Hulthemias.

Jim Sproul

Don, it is very unusual, and it is beautiful. With flowers it could be even more beautiful. I would love to see a picture of it if/when it flowers!

Most seedlings with abnormal cotyledon numbers are defective or deficient in some way. Sometimes one with 3 cotyledons will grow normally (if two of them are clearly just divisions of a single cotyledon and are joined at the base). Likewise, if the seedling has only one cotyledon but has the stub of the second (as if one simply withered late or got pulled off when the seedling extracted itself from the seed) will grow. On the whole, however, seedlings with abnormal numbers of cotyledons don’t do well.


Hi Peter,

I think you are right. The abnormal number of cotyledons is probably a symptom of some underlying incompatibility.

So, here is another photo of a seedling that I took today - it has SIX cotyledons! It too is the result of a Hulthemia hybrid X Hulthemia hybrid.

It makes you wonder how all of those cotyledons managed being cramped together inside the seed!

Jim Sproul

Almost an octopus!

George, yeah I’ll have to keep my eyes open for one with 8!

Jim Sproul