The Pediocactus var minor seed pods became ripe about four days ago. They have to be gathered as soon as they are ripe or the pods will start letting the seeds out, which makes them very hard to collect. The seeds tend to fall down the sides of the plants and hide in the network of spines at the base of the plants. Once the seeds are trapped at the base of the plant they are impossible to remove without harming the cactus.
Another difficulty is that the pods need to stay on the plants and removing the whole pod can cause serious damage to the stem of the Pedio. The pods need to be gently split open and the seeds picked out of the pod a few at a time with tweezers. A few weeks later the empty seed pods will dry and fall of the plants without damaging their skin. If the plant is damaged by removing a seed pod the resulting injury can become infected and the whole plant will die.
It took me over three hours to remove seeds from less than twenty plants. Picking the seeds out of the seed pods is tricky because they tend to slip away while I’m trying to grasp them. I am storing the seeds in the frig. and hope to plant them later this summer.
The Pediocactus plants are on their last flowers and they will finish blooming before any other species begin to bloom. There are signs of developing seed pods and the plants are putting out plenty of new growth.
The Pediocactus simpsonii var. minor plants are starting to bloom. Now, I’m going out with a paint brush every day to pollinate these plants. I think they have the most ethereal flowers of any cactus plants. All of the outdoor cacti seem to be forming flowers and buds early this year.
It is nearing the end of March and the Pediocactus simpsonii var. minor are starting to show some flower buds. These plants bloom really really early in the season and I’m hoping to see plenty of seeds too. Very exciting…