Tag Archives: Recalcitrant seed

Almacenamiento de semillas de Brosimum alicastrum (Ojushte, Rámon, Capomo)

Frutos fresco de Brosimum alicastrum

Como parte de un proyecto financiado por la Iniciativa Darwin (18-010) para apoyar la recolección sostenible de Brosimum alicastrum tuvimos la suerte de trabajar con un equipo del Millennium Seed Bank de RBG Kew.  Anaïte López del Instituto Nacional de Bosques de Guatemala pasó un mes en el banco de semillas trabajando con Tim Marks, Wolfgang Stuppy y Louise Colville bajo la dirección de Hugh Pritchard, el jefe de investigación de semillas. Brosimum alicastrum es difícil de almacenar y esto ha impactado sobre su uso en reforestation en América Central. El equipo del banco de semillas emprendió una serie de experimentos para identificar las condiciones óptimas para el almacenamiento. La investigación involucró a varias conclusiones nuevas y emocionantes que estamos en proceso de publicar. Afortunadamente también identificó las condiciones que soportan almacenamiento de hasta un año.

Las condiciones óptimas de almacenamiento consisten en el mantenimiento de la semilla a 15 ° C y un límite superior de humedad del 75% RH. Sorprendentemente humedad puede ser mucho más baja sin afectar a la viabilidad de la semilla. El almacenamiento a 15 ° C impide la germinación y el daño que ocurre frío abajo de los 10 ° C, donde la posterior fuga de electrolitos anima a daños por hongos durante la fase de germinación.

Sección a través de una semilla de Brosimum alicastrum fresco realizado por Wolfgang Stuppy del Millennium Seed Bank, Kew


Seed storage protocol for Brosimum alicastrum (Ojushte, Rámon, Breadnut, Maya Nut)


As part of  Darwin Initiative grant (18-010) to support the sustainable harvesting of Brosimum alicastrum we were very fortunate in working with a team from the Millennium Seed Bank of RBG Kew. Anaíte López from the Instituto Nacional de Bosques in Guatemala spent one month at the Seed Bank working with Tim Marks, Wolfgang Stuppy and Louise Colville under the guidance of Hugh Pritchard, the head of seed research. Brosimum alicastrum is difficult to store and this has had an affect on its use in reforestation in Central America. The team at the Seed Bank undertook a range of experiments to identify the optimal conditions for storage. The research involved several new and exciting findings which we are in the process of publishing. Fortunately it also identified conditions which support storage for up to a year.

Optimal storage conditions consist of maintaining seed at 15°C and upper limit of humidity of 75% RH. Surprisingly humidity can be much lower without impacting on seed viability. Storage at 15°C  prevents most of the in-storage germination seen at higher temperatures, and the chill damage occurring at 10°C or below, where subsequent electrolyte leakage encourages fungal damage during germination phase.

Section through fresh Brosimum alicastrum seed undertaken by Wolfgang Stuppy of the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew


Trialing a fourth agroforest species: Inga velutina

velutina crop
Freshly harvested fruit of Inga velutina collected by Rolman Velarde and Rodrígo Flores in April. Image: Rolman Velarde, Herencia

One of the aims of our work is to identify which species best support agroforest in the Amazon. There are well over 25 native Inga species in our study area. From our knowledge of these species elsewhere in South America we know that some  are small-leaved or slow-growing species that would not be much use in soil rehabilitation whilst others do not respond well to pollarding.  This leaves ten or so species that we would like to include in our experimental plots.  The logistics of including additional species is, however, a challenge as trees produce fruit for a short period and when they do there is stiff competition for them from birds and monkeys. Also  seed has to be planted within hours of being removed from the fruit. Continue reading Trialing a fourth agroforest species: Inga velutina

Building a seedling nursery in the Amazon

Click to view sowing. A seedling nursery at Pimpollo with two beds in which are ca 3000 planted seedlings of Inga edulis. Notice the palm fronds providing light shade

Building a seedling nursery needs a few basic requirements: ready access to water, shade, flattish ground and protection from pigs, dogs, chickens and deer. Most importantly of all it needs one or more people who can take responsibility for the nursery, water it once a day and check for damage from insects. Continue reading Building a seedling nursery in the Amazon

How to prepare Inga seeds for sowing

Inga seeds come in several colours, the ones shown above are all from the same pod and more or less at the same stage of development

We are planning to trial three or four native species of Inga, the most common of which is the domesticated Inga edulis. Because we want to develop the approach in a way that can be easily be replicated by our partner communities we source seed locally. Inga seeds are known as recalcitrant seeds, that is they have no dormant stage as most seeds do and so cannot be stored for any length of time. So the seeds strategy is to hit the ground running and  it is not uncommon for the seeds to germinate in the pod. It also means that we need to sow the seeds within 48 hours of harvesting them.  Continue reading How to prepare Inga seeds for sowing