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How to correctly germinate Palo Santo seeds?

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Palo Santo Seed

Have you ever wondered what the seeds of palo santo look like? How is the process to germinate the seeds of this aromatic tree that needs to live over 30 years prior proving us with its magical and soothing aroma?

As you know, together with the Technical University of Manabí, we are working on several investigations on the composition of the dry forest, the habitat of the Palo Santo tree, and its ability to store carbon, which helps reduce temperatures caused by the global warming

#PaloSantoDoneRight

It is now time to investigate the seeds. In this article, we will try to explain in detail all our work and findings about the sacred wood that soothes your soul, Palo Santo. Hope you enjoy!

First Phase - I: Cover the branches of a Palosanto tree

Palo Santo seed

We started this research in winter, on February 16, 2022, we chose this season because Palo Santo is in the reproductive stage. We identified a Palo santo tree of approximately 15 years of life, which at sight can be seen that it is loaded with seeds. Thus we proceed to take our biodegradable covers to cover the identified branches. The covers have pores that will allow the Palo santo branches to breathe.

This step is very important since by protecting the seed we make sure that they are out of sight of the birds that feed on them or that they fall to the ground and are exposed to insects. Once the branches containing the Palo santo seeds are covered, all that remains is to wait for the end of April and thus proceed to collect them.

First Phase - II : Collection of Palosanto seeds

Palo santo seed

After 70 days we collected the Palo Santo seeds, this time we observe that the tree has lost a large number of leaves. The reason for this event is the arrival of summer or the dry season. Palo Santo loses moisture through the leaves. As a preventive measure against dehydration, the dry forest species shed their leaves to facilitate the conservation of water during the summer. That is why the collection of the Palo Santo is during the summer.

If you want to know about the collection process of Palo Santo you can learn here.

We have seen that the seeds have detached from the branches and are stored inside the sheath that covers the branches.

Palo Santo seed

We proceeded to remove the covers and collect the seeds mixed with dry leaves in a container with great care. Therefore, we proceeded to clean and separate the seeds from the leaves. A curious fact is that some seeds showed signs of fungi, something that is not alarming since, in recent weeks, it has been raining, so this humidity causes the appearance of fungi that decompose the pulp of the seed.

We store the Palo Santo seeds in paper bags to absorb any signs of moisture present. Thus, they will be transported to the laboratory of the Technical University of Manabí, to begin carrying out the respective analyzes with the thesis students and discover the state of the seed or other specific characteristics.

palo santo seed

Likewise, we collected some seeds from the ground, remember, that within the investigation a comparison will be made of how both germinate from the branch and those collected from the ground.

(As a curious fact, there is a hypothesis that the Palosanto seeds that birds eat, when passing through their digestive process, have a better germination process).

Second Phase: Studies of the seeds in the laboratory

HOW-TO-CORRECTLY-GERMINATE-PALO-SANTO-SEEDS

After collecting the seeds in Puerto López, we moved to Lodana – Santa Ana Canton, where the Faculty of Agronomy of the Technical University of Manabí is located, where studies on Palo Santo seeds are carried out. We have 3 types of seeds in our laboratory:

  • The seeds obtained from the Palo Santo tree branches were collected 70 days later in a biodegradable bag, without touching the ground.
  • Seeds that have been stored for approximately 2 years in the cold.
  • Seeds that have fallen to the ground naturally were collected.

HOW-TO-CORRECTLY-GERMINATE-PALO-SANTO-SEEDS

What will be done is to place the seeds in a solution of tetrazolium chloride to be able to stain the embryo and characterize it, to know if the cells of the embryo are alive (the compound only stains the living cells), and locate it so as not to affect the embryo at the moment to apply a treatment. From this step, the following therapies are applied to the seeds:

  • The seed cut
  • Filing or scraping the hard part of the Seed
  • Control seeds, that is, nothing is done to them.

The reason for applying these treatments to the seed is to differentiate the germination percentages and which is the right one for our seeds.

HOW-TO-CORRECTLY-GERMINATE-PALO-SANTO-SEEDS

Let's see how we do!

Little by little, we are going to discover more about Palo santo, all the Palo santo seeds that we manage to germinate will be used in future reforestations. I hope you tell me your doubts and questions about this beautiful research.

Palo Santo seed

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