Too young to smoke?

bonsai barry

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Cental Coast of California
As I was cleaning up some old files, I came across this article from July 10, 2004, copyright Los Angeles Times. Here are a few lines regarding the role of smoke in the germination of seeds:

"Plant biologists (surely they mean botanists), who have long known that a compound in smoke causes many seeds to sprout, have isolated the specific chemical compound called butenolides...Using seeds from lettuce, tobacco and 14 wild plants they showed that it dramatically increased the number of seeds that sprouted. Bioloigsits think many seeds evolved to respond to fire, which might signal the availablity of more space and light to grow (Darn trees are smarter than I thought). Some seeds, like those from sequoias (I suspect they mean sequoia dendron gigantium, not sempervirens) almost never sprout without this signal. (This is strange because I've seen lots of sequoia seeds that germinated without smoke.) Lettuce seeds germinate about twice as often when watered with even low concentrations of the chemical. The chemical could help researchers propogate endangered species and it could also make farming more cost effective."

I'm not sure this information will help you in growing bonsai, but as students of nature, I thought you might find interest in this information. If you couldn't tell, the comments in the parenthesis are my own.
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