seed vitality after storage

Mary Anne Lynch mal at
Tue Oct 31 22:35:46 EST 1995


I have some questions about seed vitality and I am hoping this newsgroup
is the proper place to post them.

Since seeds continue the respiration process before they are planted,
they continuously lose their 'nutrient store' (albeit slowly) until
one day they just will not have any more energy to germinate.  I'm
just stating this as a fact; please correct if anything is amiss.

Now, say you plant two seeds of idential varieties - one is fresh, and
the other has been in storage for a long time, but has just enough
energy to germinate.  Both seeds are treated identically.

My question is:  Will the seed that was stored
produce a plant that is as healthy as, *or* not quite as healthy as,
the plant produced by the fresh seed?  If both are quite healthy,
is this because once they emerge from the ground, photosynthesis
takes over, and it doesn't matter how much 'energy' was left in the
seed, just as long as it had enough to germinate?  Or, will this
stored seed produce a plant that will forever be inferior to the fresh

If you plant a bean seed, for instance, you can watch the cotyledons
slowly shrivel as the seedling matures, so I assume that any nutrients
are being extracted.  But is this process not inferior to the energy
that the green parts of the plant are producing through photosynthesis?

Thanks for any opinions you can offer.

Mary Anne Lynch
mal at -OR-
mal at
*The road to enlightenment is long and bring snacks
and a magazine.*

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