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Long-term viability of palm seeds

This "story" came to me as an e-mail message sent to the International Palm Society e-mail list, of which I am a member; it is reprinted here with permission from the sender.

Bernie Peterson of Central Florida wrote:

A few years ago a friend gave me part of an infructescence from a Hyphaene, H. coriacea I think.

My intention was not to plant the seeds but simply to use them as a visual aid at some "Palm Workshops" that I conduct from time to time at my place of employment. Various other palm seeds and palm parts are also used.

Between workshops the Hyphaene infructescence, with a dozen or so seeds attached, was kept in a closet in my house.

Closet space became a little short 4 or 5 months ago so I added the Hyphaene infructescence to the mulch surrounding my plantings in my back yard, figuring I would no longer use them for the workshops.

Several have now germinated and are firmly rooted in the ground.

I've heard of palm seeds that may take a number of years to sprout once they have been planted, but has anyone heard of palm seeds being casually stored, uncleaned, and retaining viability for so long?

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