To update you on our January 3, 2008 blog: Our Endangered, Ozark Chinkapin seeds arrived and were planted by Marie Frye — Senior Gardener Collections and Plant Records. As a reminder, these very rare seeds were donated to Powell Gardens by the Ozark Chinquapin Foundation http://www.ozarkchinquapin.com/.
Marie inspects the newly arrived Ozark Chinkapin seeds back in January. You can see the CD mailer on the table that they arrived in!
The seed were packed in moist organic matter because they must never be allowed to dry out.
A closeup of the chinkapin shows that it has begun to germinate. Its new root is called a radical and will become a tap root for the young plant to survive the harsh conditions of its homeland.
The seed were potted up in tall nursery pots. This is how we grow plants with deep tap roots like the chinkapin (and other oaks and hickories as well).
On February 20 a new baby Ozark Chinkapin is born! So far all the energy for the plant to grow has come from the seed, still visible at the soil level. The new leaves have chlorophyll for that magical process of photosynthesis to begin to nourish the plant (and all of life on Earth!!!). It enters a difficult world where an imported disease threatens its kind. We promise to nurture this new life, protect it from disease and eventually transplant it to the Heartland Harvest Garden where people can learn about this once productive tree of the Ozarks. There are those who remember the tree from days long past in the Ozarks, and in a decade or so we should be able to see nuts for a future generation to grow and enjoy.