Handling unfamiliar seeds or how not to destroy your seed sample
Beginning work on seeds of endangered and exotic species often means starting with little or no knowledge and working toward successful handling and storage. It is often found that, in the past, exotic or poisonous plants (such as poison ivy) have been regarded as high in nuisance value and low in usefulness. Thus little research has been done on the care and handling of their seeds. Alternatively, seeds from endangered plants are often regarded as too precious to waste on needless experimentation. We now realize that information on the germination characteristics and the biochemistry of seeds of exotic and invasive species can be used to devise means of controlling their spread; and the more we learn about endangered species, the better chance we have of either establishing new colonies or storing germplasm for future generations. In this paper, we present methods for handling seeds that are an unknown entity in order to gather the greatest amount of information, often from limited seed supplies, with minimal waste.