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questions re Schizandra Chinensis germination

 
Kota Dubois
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Just got back from a Seedy Saturday event where I found Schizandra Chinensis seed. It's a perennial, shade tolerant food and medicinal vine thats been used in China for thousands of years. I've been trying to research its germination requirements which seem to be quite difficult. Has anyone any insights to share on this subject?
 
Isaac Hill
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Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania (~ zone 6)
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I've been trying to research this plant for a while, there's almost no info on germination. I'm probably just going to purchase an "Eastern Prince" variety that is self-fertile. If you have a lot of seeds you can experiment, I would like to know the results. Good luck!
 
Kota Dubois
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I found one link to another forum that someone thought they had a rather convoluted formula for spouting them, that I am going to modify (experiment with) and I'll keep you posted on what I'm doing.

And by the way, I did run into another person somewhere that said not to buy the Eastern Prince variety because it is sterile. Whether or not this means that the fruit won't be good is another question. It does seem however that semi hardwood cuttings taken in August will work about half the time.
 
Isaac Hill
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It makes sense that it would be sterile if it doesn't have a pollinator, but I can still propagate it so I'm not too worried. I don't think it would have a negative impact on the quality of fruit.
 
John Polk
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Here is some info about "Magnolia vine":

http://www.umass.edu/fruitadvisor/factsheets/Schisandra%20Project%20Report.pdf

http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/homehort/plant/Magnolia.htm

I didn't see anything about germination, but otherwise useful info. Not much available here in the west.
 
duane hennon
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I saw this in the Gurney's catalog but didn't know what it was
but alas, not available

http://gurneys.com/five-flavor-berry/p/64634/
 
Linda Davis
Posts: 14
Location: southern oregon
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It appears that Schisandra berry / seed requires some treatment / conditioning. I recall listening to a webcast in which, Richo Cech used Schisandra as an example; The seed is left in the berry when it is sent out, to keep it viable. Rather then relying on my memory, I looked it up in his Horizon Herbs catalog, for the specifics on starting the seed, quoted below. Horizon Herbs, LLC, Williams, OR

Schisandra, Official (Schisandra chinensis) seeds:
Schisandra (Wu-wei-zi)
Schisandra chinensis
Family: Magnoliaceae
Perennial woody vine. Native to Manchuria, northeastern China and Japan. The odoriferous pink or white flowers give way to bright red fruit which droops down in clusters from the vine. This is known as the many-flavored berry. The taste is sour and the effect stimulating. Used in Chinese medicine as an immune-enhancing herb. Cultivation: Extra care. Soak berries overnight and remove seed from fruit before planting. Give 2 weeks cold conditioning or plant outdoors in fall or early spring. Likes a shady situation. Cold hardy.
Open Pollinated 20 seeds/pkt. $3.95 (per Packet) http://www.horizonherbs.com/product.asp?specific=713
 
Kota Dubois
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I have decided to experiment with a stratification method that was developped in Russia by A. A. Titlianov, a scientist from the Far East Department of Russian Academy of Science and transcribed by Yuri Shiyanov as I found it at Ciderhousepress.com.

It is basically a 3 part process where the seeds are soaked in water for 4-5 days, then stratified in moist sand at 18-20 degrees C for 30 days and then for another 30 days at 0-12 degrees C. The seeds are then planted in soil that is moist and warm “enough”

In thinking about why some seeds are so difficult to germinate I imagine there may be two reasons; one is that they remain dormant for a long period of time until the conditions are just right, the other being that they do best if passed through the digestive tract of some animal where they are subjected to organic chemicals and/or bacteria. My approach will be a sort of combination of the two.

First a word about the seeds. I received 13 berries of various sizes. The smaller ones had only one very hard seed about 3mm by 2mm and the larger berries had two seeds each. In total I have 19 seeds.

This is what I have done so far. I put about 2 litres of RO demineralised water (rain water would be good, but its winter here and I have RO water for my dozens of orchids) in a small bucket. Then I made a sachet of my worm castings (small handful) out of cheese cloth, and dropped it in the water. I’m using a small aquarium air pump with a diffuser stone to keep the water aerated. This will promote the growth of the bacteria in the compost tea. Also, as Carol Deppe points out in one of her fabulous books, when presoaking seeds for germination, it must be understood that it is alive and needs oxygen to breath. Thus my airpump will keep me from having to change the water several times a day during the soaking phase.

After 24 hours, I put the dried berries into the liquid to allow them to rehydrate. After another 24 hours (now) I removed the pulp and returned the seeds to the pot. So far, about half are floating and the other half have sunk. In a few more days I will start the stratification processes.
 
duane hennon
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Kota Dubois
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Feb 17, 2012: Moved the seeds to sand moistened with the (bacterial) water used for soaking, for the warm stratification period. In the end there were only 2 seeds left floating.

March 9, 2012: After downloading and reading the PDF’s @

http://jlhudsonseeds.net/Germination.htm (a great resource for free)

I’ve decided that an overly long warm stratification period probably isn’t necessary, and have moved them into the fridge at about 4 degrees C.
 
Isaac Hill
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Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania (~ zone 6)
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Just ordered 3 vines from Oikos... intending for 2 females and 1 male. After thinking about it, it makes more sense to have fertile seeds.
 
Jessica Windle
Posts: 8
Location: Kimberley, BC Canada ZONE 3
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Try this website for info about Schizandra and lots of other great plants!

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Schisandra+chinensis

 
Wi Tim
Posts: 58
Location: North Idaho, zone 5a
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Any update on Schizandra, anyone?
Have you been able to germinate the seeds? How is it growing?
 
Tom DeCoste
Posts: 48
Location: Seboeis Plantation, ME
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Hello everyone, I did some research on the Male/Female question and was surprised by the results. http://seaberry-hippophaerhamnoides.blogspot.com/2015/03/how-do-i-tell-sex-of-schisandra.html Some cultivars may be male or female but this doesn't seem to be the natural state of the plant. The flowers are either male or female, yes, but they occur on the same plant. This would be similar to a zucchini plant etc. The page has a link to purchase plants from us and I am taking it down since we are planting our remaining plants.
 
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