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This manual occupies a unique niche among seed publications because of its focus on the seed processing steps that precede - and are necessary for - successful propagation and long-term seed storage. It targets California native plants and plants native to northern Baja California, Mexico, but the general techniques will be applicable also to other physiologically or taxonomically related species. High quality, local-source germplasm collections are a critical resource for restoration, conservation, and the stewardship of our natural biological communities, and this publication was developed specifically for those working in these fields.
The manual is divided into six main sections: (1) seed processing techniques, (2) seed cleaning procedures, (3) illustrations of fruit types, (4) a glossary of technical terminology, (5) literature sources and reviewers, and (6) a two-part appendix that facilitates cross-referencing between plant common name, scientific name, and family. Crisp color photographs provide concise and informative views of seed processing equipment and activities, and of the seeds themselves as seen under a light microscope. The information contained in the seed cleaning procedures augments the photographic images with nuggets of wisdom that only years of seed processing experience can furnish. Helpful hints are provided on fruit types, threshing, winnowing, viability and quality assessments, dealing with static electricity, and bulk cleaning.
The most detailed and also most eye-catching of the sections highlights processing procedures for seeds of 450 plant species in 71 families. Species are organized alphabetically by genus and species, arranged in groups of three species per page on 148 pages. For added convenience, instructions under each species are set out in a uniform format that features a high-quality color photograph of the processed seeds flanked by a text panel indicating common and scientific name, fruit type, seed size, shape, and surface texture, followed by a paragraph describing the cleaning methodology. The latter gives information on blower speed, sieves, screens, seed variation, and a difficulty rating that translates into the approximate cleaning time required. Specialized terms in the panels are highlighted in green to indicate that they are featured in the glossary of technical terminology. All illustrations in the seed processing section are of stunning quality (focus, resolution, color, contrast) and the content of the text panels is meticulously compiled.