[NAFEX] Pawpaw seed--floaters and sinkers

Lon J. Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Mon Nov 14 18:42:03 EST 2005

On a few occasions I've found that some larger seeds, from slightly 
smaller than pawpaw, will float even though they are viable.  For some 
reason, the floaters have a condition in which the seed halves pull 
apart inside the seed coat, leaving a space between them that acts like 
an air bubble, so that the seed floats even though it's perfectly able 
to grow.  It's not really obvious by the outward appearance of the 
seed, though.  It appears that the seed developed under stress, which 
either caused the deformation, or prevented the seed halves from quite 
filling out all the way.  I have no proof, only observation.
-Lon Rombough
Grapes, writing, consulting, my book, The Grape Grower, at 
http://www.bunchgrapes.com  Winner of the Garden Writers Association 
"Best Talent in Writing" award for 2003.
On Nov 14, 2005, at 3:28 PM, road's end farm wrote:

On Nov 13, 2005, at 8:29 PM, Richard Moyer wrote:

> Am cleaning pawpaw seed to ship to someone who will germinate them.  
> About 1/2 sink and about 1/2 float.  Does one 1/2 or the other have a 
> higher germination rate, after cold stratification, or do I assume 
> they are all equally viable?  Anyone with pawpaw seed experience in 
> this area?

Don't know about pawpaw; but with vegetable seed, at least the kinds 
I've saved, the sinkers are likely to be viable and the floaters almost 
certainly are not. Viable seed is denser, floaters immature or not 
pollinated; as floaters don't have the embryo and/or sustaining 
nutrients for it they weigh less, I think is the explanation. It would 
make sense if this also applied to fruit (though because something 
makes sense to me doesn't always mean it's so).

Finger Lakes NY; zone 5 
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