2022/2023 Seed Exchange
from Fiona Woolfenden
In the wake of many recent postal changes in many countries, the Society is working to ensure that interested members can participate in a seed exchange this year. At the very least we will run three seed exchanges with three administrators: Mike Miller (USA/Canada), Ingrid Kastell (EU-Sweden), and Guy Opie (Great Britain). A huge "Thank You" to these new administrators! We hope to make the seed exchange a truly international exchange among the three areas, but more paperwork has to be done to make it happen. More details on exactly how the seed exchange will work will be sent via a dedicated seed-exchange email, a Society Facebook posting, and a posting on our website at seeds2022.pdf.
Plan on mailing your seed by December 31, 2022In the meantime, NOW is the time to start thinking about collecting seed and preparing it to send to the Society’s Seed Exchange. The best seed to donate is from species as these are most likely to grow true to type, but seeds from any cultivar are welcome. Seeds collected in the wild, particularly from expeditions, are especially sought, as species common in one country are often difficult to find or to buy in another country. Seeds from Viorna Group plants are the most in demand whatever the origin and whether a cultivar or a mix! So, if you are able to donate seeds of plants of the Viorna Group, please do so, as they will be much appreciated by your fellow members! Other popular seeds are from the Atragene Group and the Montana Group.
Growing Clematis SeedsGrowing Clematis from seed is an interesting experience; seeds often do not come true to the parent varieties, especially seed of the large-flowered hybrids. Species are most likely to be successful and reasonably true to the parent plant; however, experimentation can provide experts and beginners alike with hours of interest, fun, and the possibility of a new variety!
Identifying Suitable SeedsThe seeds that you donate to the Seed Exchange must be viable–generally seeds in the seed heads are visible, particularly with species. If not, then the seed has probably not set and will most likely not germinate. On some varieties, you will find that only one or two seeds on a seed head are viable; the rest are not. The photo below of a group of seedheads shows a nonviable seedhead (the fuzzy one at the top) and other seedheads where only one or two seeds have set. Because they still show green, these seeds are not yet ripe enough to pick.
Seeds should be well ripened and dry; this means that the seeds will be brown. In the photos below you can see on the left the seed head of a large-flowered early hybrid that is not yet ripe, while the seed head of a viticella type in the photo on the right is ripe and ready to be picked. Seeds come away easily when they are ripe.
Group of seedheads showing a nonviable seedhead (fuzzy one at the top)
and others where only one or two seeds have set
Please clean the seeds by removing the feathery seed tails, if present. Any seeds are welcome, whether from a named species or a named cultivar. A mix of montana plants, for example, is also welcome. We would appreciate it if you can put the dry cleaned seeds in a paper envelope and NOT a plastic bag. Please write on the outside of the envelope the name of the Clematis hybrid or species from which the seeds came, as well as the additional information below. If the seed is collected from a cultivated plant but that plant came from the wild, please write down the location of the wild plant, if known. If you collected the seeds in the wild, please add the name of the place and country where they were collected and date of collection. If the place is not known, then the nearest road number and village/town would be OK. Be sure to also add your own name on the paper envelope so the Seed Exchange Administrator knows who sent the seeds. If you believe that you will be able to donate some seed that is not yet ripe, please inform your administrator. The seeds are collected this year; then early next year the Society will send you a list of the seeds available.
Seedhead not yet ripe
Seedhead ripe and ready to be picked
Where to Send Your SeedsPlease click on seeds2022.pdf for details of where you should send your seeds.
Seed Exchange FREE to MembersThe Society does not profit from the seed exchange. A number of years ago we decided not to charge an administration fee as we were concerned that the difficulties of paying small amounts of money were stopping members from ordering seeds. The result was successful in that more members requested seeds. Therefore, we do not ask for an administration fee but suggest that when you renew your membership in January you consider adding a small donation to cover administration costs for seeds that you ordered last year.
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