Those of us who engage in the fascinating activity of growing lilies from seed know that in almost every book on the subject there are lists of lily species under the headings, usually, of immediate epigeal germination, delayed epigeal germination and hypogeal germination. These tell what a particular author observed under his conditions at a particular time or what he has read in some research paper or earlier book. We also know that our own experience does not agree with the book one hundred percent of the time and that where hybrids are concerned, rather than species, the lists of ancestral species can give us high probabilities, but nothing like certain predictions.
Two batches of seeds planted during the past year illustrate this. This first was from an open-pollinated white trumpet. About 20 seeds were planted in December of 1973. Most of them germinated in a short time and the bulbs were left in their container and planted out in September of 1974. At that time it was noticed that several more seeds were just germinating, so they were saved. Seven more seedlings are coming along nicely in December of 1974.
The second example concerns seed from the NALS seed exchange labelled NutmeggerX Space Age. This involves an ancestry of L. tigrium and other asiatics. The seeds were planted as soon as received, I think in March, and grown under lights until they could be safely put outside. When fall came the seedling bulbs, as is common with those of L. tigrium, were still pretty small so I decided to grow them inside for another winter. As of now December 1974 they have had a session in my "cold hole" and are making good top growth. Among them are 4 more newly germinated seeds with the loops of the cotyledon straightening out.
These two instances seem to indicate that even when hybrid seeds are mainly of immediate epigeal germination there may still be sizeable proportion which is of delayed epigeal germination and who knows whether or not some desirable charecteristic may be linked with this delay. The moral, I suspose, is that one should not be in too great a hurry to discard as non-viable seeds those which do not germinate along with the others.
by Fred Tarlton (CPLS Newsletter # 5:2)