Help! My Sweet Pea Seeds Sprouted in the Mail (or did they..?)
Every year I receive a handful of emails saying something like this:
"Help! My sweet pea seeds have spouted in the mail and then dried up!"
My lovely customers will send along a photo of their seeds that look perfectly fine to me. Here's what's going on:
As sweet pea seeds grow, they are attached to the pod in which they develop by an apparatus called a funiculus. I think of it as a plant umbilical cord that sends all the nutrients to the seed that it needs to grow. When the seed dries it separates from the pod but the funiculus often remains attached to the seed (see photo).
All my seeds are hand harvested and I don't use any machines to thresh the seeds which would probably remove the funiculus. Some varieties more stubbornly hold onto the funiculus so you may not notice it on your seeds.
In the photo below I show germinated seeds next to a viable (ungerminated) seed. When the seed germinates it sends out a root and a shoot and the seeds splits apart to allow this. The viable seed is still whole with no split.