Juniper Conservation Update
Dec 16, 2015
Along with the juniper berries we collected from Box Hill in October for use in our gin we also set some aside for our conservation project to propagate a new population of juniper from seed and ultimately plant out on Juniper Top. This is a very long and laborious process as described in our Conservation section, juniper does not seem particularly keen on reproduction!
Anyway, the collected berries have now been processed and analysed at Forest Research. First they were macerated to enable the seeds to be extracted from the berries - a very sticky and time-consuming process. The resulting seeds are then added to water to separate the 'floaters' from the 'sinkers' - floaters are typically empty seeds and pulp debris whilst the sinkers are, largely, filled and therefore potentially cultivatable seeds though, as you can see from the x-ray image there are a few empty seeds with such thick seed coats that they sank. The x-rays allowed for further filtering to optimise seed quality. Hence the filled seeds have now been sown in plug trays and are under incubation at an alternating 10/15°C for 2 weeks and then a constant 4°C for the next 6 months to break dormancy.
Hopefully we'll have the first seedlings starting to emerge at the end of incubation, I will keep you posted.
Told you it was a long and difficult process!