WEC-2011 / using perlite instead of seed raising mix for sowing the embryos / RUN #1

This is a live WEC run, so I have no clue about the outcomes…what you see here is exactly what happens in real time!!!

OK… I harvested this hip a few hours ago, (very fertile, very likely a tetraploid):

Here are its contents:

Here are the extracted rose seeds with their papery testa coverings:

After soaking these seeds for a few minutes, I threw one out because I had damaged its radicle end, and I threw the two tiny ones out, as I could tell they “felt” useless to the touch…and also, as you can see one embryo has already released itself through a hole in the testa covering made accidentally by the box cutter blade (I love when that happens!!!):

It is way past 2am here now, so I am going to soak these in tap water till the morning, at which time I’ll remove any remaining papery testa, and soak the bare embryos in tap water for anything up to 3 days (less if any one of them mould).

I’ll next post when I am about to do the culture step.

I had a crazy idea tonight…why not use pure perlite in sealed jars with a water level inside, which converts the jars to a type of pot with no drainage holes, and its lid can act like a ready made seal…then sow the embryos on the surface of the perlite, and not cover them with anything, just leave them exposed to the humid air inside the jar…this is almost like JEC, but it is also like sowing them in a way!!!..maybe their sowing could be done by attaching each embryo to the side of a wooden toothpick. The toothpick could then be guided through the perlite until the embryo lies on the surface of the perlite, the toothpick might give the contrast to assist in the difficult white (embryo) against the white (perlite) sowing problems I have encountered?! The toothpicks might also help show where each embryo is sown in relation to its neighbor.

I have no clue if this is a good idea, or if it is practical, but I plan to put it in action so we can all see what happens, in a couple of days time!!


In a prior discussion wasn’t it discussed that seedlings can start making chlorophyll in a very low level of light? (Don H.) If they are lying on top of the perlite and get exposed to some light, the cotyledons should start turning green (or do they need to be out of the testa?) and the greening seedlings would show up against the perlite. It would be simpler than adding toothpicks and wood rots very quickly. (I tried using ice cream ‘sticks’ as labelled plant markers and they rotted so quickly as to be useless. Of course this was in the soil so bacteria and molds were present.)


Hi Jim P!

My problems with sowing white/ivory embryos against white perlite is that I cannot easily spot where the embryos have been sown, to allow me to sow subsequent ones in a nicely spaced orderly manner…i.e I am trying to avoid clumping some of them. They also tend to like to stick to eachother, like they are in love or something…LOL!

So, I am seeking to create some color contrast to help me see the embryo or at least spot its position somehow, at the time of sowing, in order to allow me to accurately position the complete population of embryos as evenly as I can in the available space. In this current run, there are only a few embryos to work with, so it is far less of an issue to mark/spot them, however I am thinking ahead when there might be 50 embryos, or even more, to sow in a bigger jar.

I thought originally to stain the perlite with something like beetroot juice, but I can see a whole lot of mess in that idea, roflol!!! I also thought about using some inert fab spray paint like the graffiti folk use, to color the perlite surface…LOL…I might even consider that if toothpicks don’t work, but I also like the toothpick, as it also might be a great tool in getting these tiny things into the jar at the precise area…it may or may not work…all will be revealed, soon LOL!

George I KNOW all about them sticking together (my fingers or each other!) I just scattered some seeds in perlite the last few days. I realized you had mentioned before the white on white problem- do they green up at all in the jars of water while in the testa or do they have to be freed of that also to start greening up when exposed to light?


Hi Jim P,

When I remove the testa, after soaking the extracted rose seeds overnight, the embryos are pearly white or ivory, not green. I eliminate any that have a waxy patchy or dark discoloration (I assume they are damaged /deformed or infected).

After a maximum of three days of water soaking without their papery testa, I cannot remember any of them going a green color. If they are viable, for sure they are synthesizing chlorophyl, but it is not a visible amount, at least to my eyes/vision. Maybe I need to see an ophthalmologist, after all I am over 45 yo LOL!

I have had some cases where exceptionally rapid embryo growth and coloration has taken place, like this two day old JEC-cultured OP R.clinophylla x braceata emrbyo, which broke all my records…I think it was potted up as a seedling on the fourth day of its JEC culture!!!

I wish this was the rule, not the exception!

I understand; I guess I presumed they all readily colored up. I had remembered the earlier discussion and Don chiming in that it took only a little light energy to make chlorophyll versus a lot to make actual growth. Your eyes are fine. Anyone who can handle a box cutter to remove the achenes as you do has my admiration. I chickened out after trying-need my fingers!


Yes, it makes plenty sense to not be mucking around with box cutter knives, since nail clippers seem to do the EE job fine for Don Holeman, and others! If anyone wants to try the box cutter blade for their EE, as I have mentioned numerous times before, they have to accept risk for possible personal injuries in the form of cuts or flying objects (although this has never been actually a problem for me, and I am so familiar using the box cutter method I have no need to change over).

Jim P, just to satisfy your own curiosity, and great questions, I once did remove a rose seed from an OP Iceberg achene, and then removed the testa the same time, and the embryo was totally green, and very bizarre looking…it was deformed and never sprouted to a live plant…this proves that light can penetrate not only testa but also achene to trigger photosynthesis, rarely to a very visible extent…so yes, it is all possible…one of my university teachers used to say to us “never say never”…too right, sir!

Here it is, as it appeared immediately following extraction from its achene and testa, with no period of culturing… I nicknamed it the “embryo from Mars”…talk about alien roflol!!!

OK… three days is up. As usual, because these are derived from fresh rose seed, none of them moulded in 3 days of water soaking, so I kept them in the water for the entire 3 days.

In contrast to this, some very dry seeds have moulded on me even after one day of soaking in water!! This makes me wonder if drying some types of rose seeds is bad for them.

One of them had a radicle that looked like two radicles stuck together. At first I thought it was twins in the same testa, but under 30X magnification it was a deformed single embryo…it was excluded. I have no time for bizarre wastes of time!

The rest look sort of ok…one had its cotyledon shaved very close to the radicle, but I don’t think the radicle was actually damaged, so I kept it.

Jim P, as you can see they get a little thicker in their parts after the water soaking, and in true daylight their color is a sort of ivory, not exactly a pearly white, if that makes sense.

Here they are, as of a few minutes ago:

Now I am going to figure out how best to do the jar, toothpick and perlite thing!!

(will post pix as soon as it’s all figured out, in the next hour or so).

OK this is not what I had originally thought about, but it might prove to be a more practical way to go.

Here is my fav glass! I popped the perlite into it, soaked it totally, then drained out the residual water, so that there is ~1/4 inch water level rising up the side of the glass, not enough for the perlite to lift/float up away from the base of the glass (perlite floats in water, I just discovered!!).

Then I sealed the lot with plastic cling wrap from the kitchen, and a tight elastic band for a good seal. Here is the finished thing:

Here is a bird’s eye view…see how camouflaged the embryos are against the perlite??:

I actually placed each toothpick one by one, then the embryo was picked up with another toothpick and placed near the marker toothpick, trying to slighly nestle it in between some grains of perlite, but not bury it (I thought if the embryos were actually in contact with the wooden toothpicks they might dry out, so I avoided actual contact).

It was a piece of cake, and quite a fun thing to do!

Will post progress pix /results, in the next few days.

Oh yea, I forgot to add… after all the embryos were in place, I also gave the surface a few light squirts of water with my hand mister, to get the surface of the perlite and side of the glass all nice and moist, then I sealed it all up.

As of today all four have greened up. I don’t want to undo the plastic wrap, I’ll keep them sealed for a while till they shoot up and look like real plants with stems, then I’ll take pix to show.

I thought they could do with a bit of fresh air this morning, so I took away the plastic wrap for a few minutes just a while ago. Here is how they looked:

The water level has reduced considerably, but as there is still a small level of water on the bottom, and the humidity is still adequate with this amount of water, judging by the condensation build up.

I don’t know how long to keep them in there, but they seemed happy enough to stay there for now, so I just resealed it all up with the plastic wrap and elastic band.


They look great! None of the seeds that I soaked for three months show anything yet. Nice to see the green of the seedlings. Spring is coming , LOL.


LOL…water soaking my OP Iceberg achenes for 8 weeks in the fridge last year, and then sowing them and getting ~10% germination, was an insane experiment, with a totally outrageous outcome IMO!

All I can say to you Jim P, is good luck!!