Pinion Pine Seed Viability/Planting

scotjute Z8
October 22, 2008

Collected about 60 or so Remote Pinion Pine seed over the weekend.

I've cracked 3 of them, but the seeds appears to have withered or rotted to nothing inside. All but one floated in water. Is that a reliable method for discerning bad vs viable (capable of germinating) Pinion Pine seed? Is the one that didn't float likely to be the only good one?

Does one plant the entire seed with hull, or is the hull cracked and then the naked seed planted?

Any recommended way too discern between bad and good Pinion Pine seeds?

Comments (18)

  • pinetree30

    Good ones are dark and noticeably "weighty". Empty ones are light in color and weight. Plant intact, not cracked.

  • scotjute Z8

    I believe the one that sank was also dark in color. Most of those that floated were light in color as I remember. All in line with what you said. Didn't connect on that. Thanks.

  • pineresin

    "Good ones are dark and noticeably "weighty". Empty ones are light in color and weight"

    That's my experience too.


  • pinetree30

    If you open them up you will usually find the light ones to be unfilled -- empty except for a dried-up collapsed embryo. Most likely, these have not been pollinated. Good seed are fully filled with a plump moist endosperm with a yellowish rod-like embryo in the center running the length of the seed.

  • plants77

    you're just a little late. Once the cones start to open The good seeds are quickly acquired by wildlife.

  • plants77

    I have a bag full of these BTW, send an email to txhorticulture at yahoo dot co m and I can send you some that will actually grow.....

  • utah_artist

    I have 27 small pinion pine trees growing from this springs planting. I bought a pound of Raw Nevada Pinion Pine Nuts that were advertised on Ebay. It was a local seller, so I picked up the bag of pine nut in Sandy, Utah where I live. I soaked the seeds I intended to plant for two days in a glass of water, with a small plate on top to keep all seed submerged. After which I placed the seeds in a zip lock baggy with the seed wet but drained in the opened bag. Placed it in the crisper in my fridge for about three months. I made sure they didn't dry out or get moldy. The seeds split open at the pointed end and some started to sprout. I planted them 1/4 inch deep below the surface in a mixture of half vermiculite and half peat moss. I used plastic drinking bottles for the pots. I drilled five holes in the lid and cut the bottom of the bottle off. turned it up side down and had a fantastic pot to grow deep roots. Any way, they have seven long needles pushing up the seed pod and a group of short needles in the center. I will plant these little trees next spring in Burrville Utah where I have a Old Stone Cabin. I hope this info helps you with your planting. Steve.

    Here is a link that might be useful:

  • katskan41

    Steve, interesting post. For some reason I believed that when you give conifer seeds cold stratification in the fridge that they needed to be in a plastic bag with some type of "soil" like either sand, peat moss, etc. Sounds like that's not the case.

    So you soak the seeds in water for a couple days then place the seeds in an unsealed plastic bag. I've tried this before, but as mentioned I place the seeds in damp sand, or even a damp paper towel, seal the bag, then place them in the fridge. Quite often I encounter mold issues, probably from sealing the plastic bag.

    I might try your method next time and see what happens. Seems to have worked well for you.



  • sluice

    Appreciate the link to your website. Stunning images! The Albion Basin is fantastic.

  • nothotsuga

    So you soak the seeds in water for a couple days then place the seeds in an unsealed plastic bag.

    Link below:

    Here is a link that might be useful: Practical Seedling Growing

  • pinetree30

    The "pods" are the seed coats. The longer needles are the seed leaves (cotyledons), and the shorter ones are new needles along the new shoot. Burrville is in Pinus edulis (Colorado pinyon) country, and your trees are Pinus monophylla (singleleaf pinyon), so they may not like your conditions too well.Worth a try though.

  • utah_artist

    I bought some Pinus edulis seedlings from Lone Peak Nursery in Draper Utah last fall. They are a reforestation agency that has been closed as of this month because of state budget cuts. The seed source of the Pinus edulis was New Mexico. I planted most of the trees last fall and have been planting the remainder this spring. I decided to give the Pinus monophylla a try because they thrive in similar areas and conditions not to far to the west. In the East Tintic Mountains to the north, the Pinus edules and Pinus monophylla range over lap. So I hope I can have the same thing happen in Burrville. Growing up in northern Utah, my parents would take the family to Nevada on Labor Day and pick pine cones which were Pinus monophylla and that is why I want to plant that type in Burrville. I hope they will work out. The main difference in conditions will be, a slight increase of precipitation and slightly higher elevation. The area I'm planting them in is very dry and well drained soil. Thanks for your information. One thing that amazed me, was that the nutritious part of the seed that surrounds the pine needle part of the internal center of the nut is still in tact and tasty after the tree has grown out of its shell. I thought that the seedling would have used up the nutritious part of the nut for its own growth like a baby chick uses up everything in the egg. It is slightly translucent and more yellow than the creamy white they start out being. They are sweater and taste ok, but not as good as fresh pine nuts. After washing and eating these pine nuts, I felt like I was having my cake and eating it to. Steve.

  • mikes.gardens

    I live in N. western Nevada and I have long been interested in these wonderful pines. I recently dug up a small (less than a foot)pinion and collected a bunch of seeds. My hope is to start a collection for my property and to share with others. Any advice that may aid in my success would greatly be appreciated. thanks Mike

  • aquynus99_yahoo_com

    For the person stating about the yellow spike in the center of the nut........Open one slowly,you'll see the yellow is a groupe of pinion needles.I usually germinate them in dryer lint covered over with 1 ply toilet paper,wet,in a tub loosly.I also keep them in the dark,warm,usuall just under our comfort for growth,and do what is necessary to prepare for planting.
    This also workes for.....
    White sage,oakes,varioue tree seeds,and some vegatables.
    !!!!!!using dryer lint saves money,and you dont have to spend money on the mosses and such.....go green!!!!!!

  • HU-692410885

    I'm in NE Washington and I do recommend keeping the seeds in a refrigerator in a plastic bag partially open and using hydrogen peroxide periodically to sterilize once mold starts. I had 50 P monophylla. that I tried this way and use hydrogen peroxide as needed 3% diluted to 1-2 Tbsp. per cup and soak up to 6 hours. Today I had some mold and 2 seeds that had root on the side, after I soaked in H2O2 for 6 hours at room temperature, and I noticed about 10 new seeds had roots. Go figure, temperature or hydrogen peroxide? Yep, I put them back in the fridge till the root is long enough, then put in a pot; the first group of 11 are pushing out of the soil, hydrogen peroxide is beneficial in the right amounts. I just bought a pound of Pinus edulis seeds and trying the same procedure, the mice ate the first batch of P. edulis so keep them protected or in the fridge!

  • scotjute Z8

    Update : now have 2 P. remota trees that are about 8-9 feet tall. One is regularly producing cones now, but only rarely will one germinate. The other is just now producing a very few cones.

    Don't think they are cross-pollinating well at this point. Had one seed germinate 2 yrs ago. On third day after germination (in pot) mouse dug it up and killed it.

  • tsugajunkie z5 SE WI ♱

    Thanks for the update.


  • HU-692410885

    First soak the seeds 24 hours then put in your zip lock baggie with a cloth dish towel, darker color is easier to observe the seeds, check every week, if you see mold use the h2o2 procedure and put back in the fridge again, temperature should be about 50 to 6060F, 8 to 12 C would be about right, eg a warm fridge.

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