Shah Jahan
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Cant germinate Rosary Pea from seeds

I'm trying to plant Abrus precatorius, (known commonly as jequirity, Crab's eye, rosary pea, John Crow Bead, precatory bean, Indian licorice, Akar Saga, gidee gidee or Jumbie bead in Trinidad & Tobago) from seed and have had NO success.

I've tried
1) Seed plantation.
2) Soaking seed for 1 and 2 days in water and then planting
3) Scarifying the seed and then soaking for 1 and 2 days and then planting

Till now I have tried with 18 seeds in different batches and in different times BUT still NO success. I know the seeds are fresh because the seeds accidentally come with leaves in the market everyday. The leaves are sold in Indian markets mostly for the use in 'Paan' and 'Mava' as sweetener and also for medicinal use.

I've had three different batches of seeds but can't seem to germinate them. I could use some help on how to germinate them.

Here's a wiki page to the plant: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abrus_precatorius

Thank you very much for your help.

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applestar
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:shock: I don't know, the first description that jumped at me was the their toxicity :shock:

...You say you are getting them attached to leaves. Are they green? Maybe like many beans, these have to mature until the pod/plant is dry to be viable for germination. Are the seeds you are planting fully colored?

Wiki article also mentions heat denatures the toxic protein and renders them harmless -- could they have been pre-heat treated?

Shah Jahan
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applestar wrote::shock: I don't know, the first description that jumped at me was the their toxicity :shock:
Yeah, I have studies toxicology in my Degree College and it is in my knowledge THE MOST potent plant toxic I know of. The LD50 value is the least I ever came across for a plant toxin.
applestar wrote:You say you are getting them attached to leaves. Are they green? Maybe like many beans, these have to mature until the pod/plant is dry to be viable for germination. Are the seeds you are planting fully colored?
Actually all the leaves and seeds are scattered so they are not attached. I meant that when they harvest, they pick out the seeds, but since in Mumbai (Bombay) it comes by the tonnes (literally) every DAY, a good lot of seeds do find their way in the market. So I know it is fresh BUT not actually attached with the leaves or the pod.

Yes, the leaves are green and the beans are brightly colored just like in the pics on the internet. Some of the seeds did have faded colors and I tried planting them too, but NO success. I tried to use all the sizes and shapes and colored beans BUT none of them germinated! MOST are of uniform size and brightly colored though.
applestar wrote:Wiki article also mentions heat denatures the toxic protein and renders them harmless -- could they have been pre-heat treated?
In Ayurveda (old Indian Medical 'science') the beans are treated to denature the toxic and it consumed for illnesses!

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applestar
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Only other idea I had was -- In cold climates, some seeds only germinate after cold/freeze season. In the tropics, I have read/heard that many tropical seeds are programmed to germinate only after passing though digestive system of an animal to ensure the seeds being widely scattered from the mother plant to reduce competition. Possible?

Also, how long did you give them to germinate? When I tried growing coffee from seeds, it took ages -- at least a month, maybe 6 weeks for one of of ten seeds to germinate. When the little one finally grew enough to Uppot about 4 months later, I accidentally broke a second seedling that had just started to germinate under the soil unnoticed, much to my disappointment.

Shah Jahan
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Thanks for your replies.
applestar wrote:Only other idea I had was -- In cold climates, some seeds only germinate after cold/freeze season.
I too am thinking about this. Although it doesn't freeze in my country, except in the High Himalaya Mountains. Although I just am not very comfortable with the idea of having such a deadly toxic in my freezer. I know the seeds are tough and I'd most probably use a plastic bag or something to keep the seeds in, but the idea still, for some reason, disturbs me.
applestar wrote:In the tropics, I have read/heard that many tropical seeds are programmed to germinate only after passing though digestive system of an animal to ensure the seeds being widely scattered from the mother plant to reduce competition. Possible?
Nope, that unfortunately won't be possible for me.

applestar wrote:Also, how long did you give them to germinate? When I tried growing coffee from seeds, it took ages -- at least a month, maybe 6 weeks for one of of ten seeds to germinate. When the little one finally grew enough to Uppot about 4 months later, I accidentally broke a second seedling that had just started to germinate under the soil unnoticed, much to my disappointment.
In my previous three tries, I gave them several months. For my last try (the one with scarification, soaking for a day, then planting) it has been around a week. Your post has given me hope. I'd continue to water it and hope that it too will germinate.

gbronner
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Abrus precatorius Cultivation:

Abrus precatorius Cultivation:

Originally from India, Abrus precatorius is adaptable to most soils, but prefers a tropical climate with reasonably high rainfall and a sunny position.
Propagation is by scarified seed sown in spring. Abrus precatorius seeds germinate more consistantly if scarified. Cover the seeds with very hot water and soak overnight or until they swell. Pick out those that didn't swell and repeat process with them. Sow swollen seeds immediately in seeding mix, covering with two to three times their thickness. Do not overwater or allow to dry out and provide good drainage and bright light. Should germinate within a few weeks with pretreatment or erratically without.
from
https://b-and-t-world-seeds.com/89.html
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applestar
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Oh! Interesting! So that hot water treatment part is similar to when I tried growing lotus seeds. I held the seeds with pliers and rubbed against sandpaper until outer coat was rubbed off and white spot showed. With lotus seeds, properly scarified seeds sank as well as swelling.

Shah Jahan
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Re: Abrus precatorius Cultivation:

gbronner wrote:Abrus precatorius Cultivation:

Originally from India, Abrus precatorius is adaptable to most soils, but prefers a tropical climate with reasonably high rainfall and a sunny position.
Propagation is by scarified seed sown in spring. Abrus precatorius seeds germinate more consistantly if scarified. Cover the seeds with very hot water and soak overnight or until they swell. Pick out those that didn't swell and repeat process with them. Sow swollen seeds immediately in seeding mix, covering with two to three times their thickness. Do not overwater or allow to dry out and provide good drainage and bright light. Should germinate within a few weeks with pretreatment or erratically without.
from
https://b-and-t-world-seeds.com/89.html
I searched for hours on google and didn't find that page! Thank you for your help. THIS will surely help.
applestar wrote:Oh! Interesting! So that hot water treatment part is similar to when I tried growing lotus seeds. I held the seeds with pliers and rubbed against sandpaper until outer coat was rubbed off and white spot showed. With lotus seeds, properly scarified seeds sank as well as swelling.
How 'hot' should be the water? And do I need to change the water every few hours to keep it hot?

Thank you all for your help.

imafan26
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Make sure the seeds came from mature dry pods. If they are too young they won't be viable. If you can get fresh stems, treat them like cuttings.

I have a couple of ways to test seed for viability.

Put a few seeds in water. Keep the ones that sink

nick the seed with a file

Soak the seeds in warm water, not hot. Make sure outside temps are at least 70 degrees and not less than 60 degrees at night.

Most of the time the outer shell of the seeds will start to crack by the morning
soaking seeds longer does not work they get soft and rot.

In the morning. take the seeds out of the water. and place them on a damp, not soggy paper towel.

fold over the paper towel and put the seed in a zip lock bag and seal.

Put bag in a warm place. and check seeds every couple of days for sprouting. It should sprout within 10 days or less.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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