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identifying flower seeds

Identifying flower seeds

A website devoted entirely to seeds!
WELCOME to my webpages about seeds – collecting seeds, storing seeds, sowing seeds, germinating seeds
and exchanging seeds, with pictures of seeds, seedpods and seedlings (and a bit of botany!)

Seeds and Seed Pods – If you want to collect your own seeds, but aren’t sure what the seed or seedpod looks like, or if you have seeds without a name, hopefully this section will help you identify them. Life-size pictures of 1000 seeds in alphabetical order of their Latin name, 950 seeds sorted by size and shape, and close-up images of 900 seeds to show more detail. Photographs of 500 seedpods (sorted by alphabetical order of Latin name or according to the Plant Family they belong to) so you can recognise those too.

Seed Harvesting – A light-hearted look at seed collecting, which will tell you all you need to collect, dry and store seeds from the plants in your garden. Also includes answers to some Frequently Asked Questions to help ensure your seeds are ripe, healthy and viable, and several designs for seed envelopes to put them in.

Seed Sowing – General information about how, when and where to sow seeds by several different methods. Explains the reasons you might want to use winter sowing, and suggests plants you can start this way. Includes a photo guide to seed sowing and pricking out.

Germination – A Seed Germination Database – A table showing the results of sowing over 2000 batches of seeds of almost 1700 species, by several different methods, at different times of the year.

Seedling Images – Photos of 800 seedlings in alphabetical order of their Latin name, or sorted according to the shape of the first true leaves, with their Latin and common names, to make it easier to identify the plantsthat come up in your garden, or to show you what should come up from the seeds you sow. Includes some FAQs about seedlings.

Database – bringing together the information from the other sections, with Latin names, Plant Family, English common name, Germination information, photographs of Seedpod, Seed and Seedling, for over 600 plants.

Plant Profiles – 200 pages with photos and descriptions of 50 favourite annuals, 50 favourite perennials, 50 alpine and rockery plants, and 50 British Wildflowers (and some common British butterflies). Includes a large photo, botanical classification, and the photographs of seedpod, seeds and seedlings from the other sections.

Now also includes templates for making mini-cards to help identify 48 common British wildflowers.

Plant Index – All the plants covered in these pages, listed by botanical name or common name, linked to the relevant page so you can go straight to the information you want. Also has a Search Box, in case you can’t! Or you can use the common names index to check the botanical names of your plants.

A Bit of Botany – Some technical bits – gardening and botanical terms, including types of fruits, diagram of a flower, classification of plants (including information on the new APG III system), meaning of Latin names, botanical names for common plants, an Introduction to Plant Families, pests, weeds, leaf shapes, flower shapes and more, with explanatory photos, charts and diagrams.

Information for Teachers – A page of links to some topics on The Seed Site that might be useful for the National Curriculum Key Stages in Science.

The Junior Seed Site – A shorter and simpler version of The Seed Site especially for younger gardeners, with hints on choosing plants, sowing seeds, recognising your seedlings and collecting your own seeds, and some templates for seed envelopes to colour in.

I hope you find these pages helpful. Once again, here are all the sections on the site:

I’d like to think everything on these pages is right, but I’m only a gardener, and have no botanical qualifications or experience.
If you find any errors, please let me know.

If you can’t see what you’re looking for listed above, you can search the site here:

Identifying flower seeds A website devoted entirely to seeds! WELCOME to my webpages about seeds – collecting seeds, storing seeds, sowing seeds, germinating seeds and exchanging seeds, with

What Is A Seed Head: Identifying Flower Seed Heads

Gardening experts, like doctors, lawyers, mechanics or other professionals, sometimes throw around terms that are common in their profession but may have other people wishing they would just speak plain English. Occasionally, I will get on a roll explaining something to a customer and see a look of confusion come over their face as I mention terms like “balled and burlap,” “plant crown” or “seed head.”

Many times people will hesitate to ask a question like: “What is a seed head?” because they are afraid it will make them look stupid. Truth is, there are no stupid questions and gardening experts actually want to help you better understand your plant’s needs, not ridicule you. In this article, we will cover how to recognize a seed head on plants.

How to Recognize a Seed Head

The term “seed head” is defined as a flower head in seed by the Oxford dictionary. It is the dried flowering or fruiting part of the plant which contains the seeds. On some plants the seed head is easily recognized and identified. For example, on dandelions, the yellow petals wilt and drop, then are replaced by the fluffy white seed head.

Other easy to identify seed heads on plants are sunflowers, rudbeckia, and coneflower. These seed heads form right in the center of the petals, then ripen and dry as the petals fade and wilt.

Not all seeds form on obvious seed heads, though. Plant seeds can form in other ways too, like in the following seed head parts:

  • Fruits
  • Berries
  • Nuts
  • Capsules (e.g. poppy)
  • Catkins (e.g. birch)
  • Pods (e.g. sweet pea)
  • Winged capsules or samaras (e.g. maple)

Flower seed heads generally start out green, yellow, red, or orange in color, but turn brown as they ripen and dry. Some seed heads, such as seed heads on euphorbia or milkweed, will burst open when they ripen and send seeds out by the force of the burst. In the case of milkweed and dandelion, seeds float away on the wind by light, fluffy fibers.

Uses for Seed Heads on Plants

Recognizing flower seed heads is important for several reasons: future plant propagation, prolonging blooms by deadheading, creating bird friendly gardens, and because some plants have attractive seed heads that add winter interest to the landscape.

When collecting seeds for future plant propagation, placing nylon panty hose around the ripening seed heads can ensure that you get seeds before they are naturally dispersed by wind or birds. When deadheading plants, we cut spent flowers off before they have a chance to put energy into producing seeds. By doing this the plant’s energy is diverted from seed production to sending out new blooms.

Certain plants have attractive seed heads that are left on the plant to add winter interest to the landscape or for use in crafts. Many of these seeds can also provide food for birds and small mammals in winter. Some plants with attractive seed heads are:

Many times people will hesitate to ask a question like: "What is a seed head?" because they are afraid it will make them look stupid. Truth is, there are no stupid questions. In this article, we will cover how to recognize a seed head on plants.