I often see lots of Dionaea seed for sale on sites such as ebay, and I admit, I still slightly cringe. The listing normally goes something like this, “Dionaea ‘Some Fantastic Cultivar’ seed for sale”. So what’s the problem? Well, one of the problems is, it leads many people to think they are buying seeds which will germinate, and eventually grow into Some Fantastic Cultivar. Either through ignorance or deceptiveness, these kinds of listings don’t provide anywhere near enough information for a customer to make an informed decision about what they’re actually buying.
Before I explain more, let me start off by pointing out seeds are a result of sexual reproduction. They will never result in plants which are an exact copy of their parent(s). Actually, there is no guarantee seed grown plants will have any specific feature of their parent(s). If you want exact copies or clones of a specific plant, you must strike cuttings or look into tissue culture. This is the number one misconception lots of people who advertise “Dionaea ‘Some Fantastic Cultivar’ seed for sale” are hoping you are not aware of.
Now lets discuss the implications of pollination on Dionaea seed production. Dionaea can be pollinated in two ways. Self pollination, where pollen from the same flower or from another flower on the same plant is used to create seed. And cross pollination, where pollen from a genetically different plant is used to create seed. We know seed from the former has a lower germination rate, and produces smaller and less vigorous plants when compared with plants grown from cross pollinated seeds. Anyone who tells you they have cross pollinated seed from two different plants of the same cultivar is either flat out lying to you, or showing their ignorance. Since cultivars are genetically all the same plant, seed from such a scenario is self pollinated.
Lineage is important too, it’s really an extension of pollination. Essentially, it pertains to the parents used to create the seed. Was seed produced from two different typical plants? Or by cross pollinating two different cultivars? Or maybe from one cultivar parent, and one typical plant. Each type of seed has their place depending on what you’re trying to achieve. For example, the former is great for introducing more genetic diversity in your collection. If you are trying to create your own cultivar you’ll likely benefit from the later two scenarios.
One of the most neglected considerations when buying seeds is age. Seeds are alive, overtime if they are not given conditions for germination they will die. Referred to as seed viability, the percentage of seeds able to germinate decrease with time. Dionaea seeds stored in a fridge will have near perfect viability for 12 – 15 months. But if you’re buying older seeds you can expect less germination. Yet virtually no online seed sellers provide harvest dates or even answers questions to this effect.
Finally, please beware of cheap seeds. If it seems too good to be true, it likely isn’t true. Dionaea seeds are not sold by the hundreds. They cost more than one to five cents each. In reality Dionaea seeds take time and substantial energy from the plant to produce. Some people have complained about the price of our seeds. While I am sympathetic to this, I ask you to consider the quality of our seeds and information supplied with them. As well as the fact we are not a sole seed producer. Not all of our plants set seed, so the amount of seed we have for public sale is not infinite.