Friday, April 22, 2011

Looking close at indigo seeds

Indigo does not come from just one plant. Japanese indigo also has several varieties as I am finding out.

The packages of indigo from Rowland Ricketts are nicely labeled indicating the name of the variety and what color blooms they will have. It also states the tint the stems will have. The kojyoko variety will have white bloom and green stems while the senbon variety will have pink blooms and stems with a reddish cast. I plan to separate these in my garden so I can track the differences in them this year. I want to look at yield of dried leaf and color produced from the dried leaf.

The seeds are slightly different in appearance as well as being different from the seeds I got last year from  The seeds from Companion plants are flatter and smaller and dark brown in color.  I started those last week and they are now sprouting.
Indigo sprouts
leaning toward the light
You can see the shells of the seeds
clinging to the cotyledons.
The white fuzz is the thin
hair-like roots forming.

Above are the seeds from the new packages. On the left in each picture is a seed still in the husk. On the right is the actual seed. The kojyoko seed is darker and smoother than the senbon. Both the kojyoko and senbon seem to have three sides instead of the two sided flat seeds from Companion Plants which is labeled as indigofera tinctoria which is part of the pea family.  The Japanese variety--polygonum tinctorium is part of the buckwheat family. I will be starting the flats of these seeds this next week.

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