Who can identify a tropical seed for me?

  Forum Editor 19:10 28 Mar 2009

A couple of years ago I was on a beach in Borneo. Behind the beach was dense rainforest, and not much else - I was in the middle of nowhere. As I stood waist deep in the water watching dozens of tiny tropical fish I saw something bobbing around. I fished it out, and saw that it was some kind of seed. It was perfectly spherical, with a cross shaped split at the top, as if it was about to open into four quarters. It was also extremely hard, and coloured a uniform dark buff.

I brought it home, and it has been on my desk ever since - it fascinates me, and I've resolved to find out what kind of plant/tree it comes from. I could take it to Kew Gardens easily enough - I'm often passing - but before I do that I thought I would try the forum; maybe someone is a seed expert, or knows someone who is.

The seed is about the size of a large grape, by the way, and hasn't changed its appearance (or hardness) in two years.

  sunnystaines 20:18 28 Mar 2009

sounds like one of the palm species. put in some damp compost under a sun lamp.

  alB 20:36 28 Mar 2009

Possibly this...click here ...alB

  rowdy 20:54 28 Mar 2009

That it is illegal to import seeds in this manner. I suggest that you would be wise to stay away from Kew.


  Forum Editor 23:27 28 Mar 2009

I'm quite sure that nobody at Kew is going to clap me in irons. It's perfectly legal to carry a single seed into the country.

  Forum Editor 23:32 28 Mar 2009

So far my seed isn't among the various drift seeds mentioned. If you imagine an almost perfect sphere about 20mm in diameter, divided into four perfect quadrants that are still attached to each other you have it. The seed is rock hard and has a very smooth buff-coloured surface. It's so perfectly shaped that it looks as if a machine made it.

I'm now even more determined to find out what it is, so Kew Gardens here I come.

  wolfie3000 23:42 28 Mar 2009

Sound's to me like a dryed up fruit rather than a seed,
In other words the seed or seeds are inside.

  Forum Editor 23:49 28 Mar 2009

You might be right. The fact that it is divided so neatly into four quadrants suggests that it may be four seeds, or four containers with seeds inside, and is thus a fruit.

  perpetual motion 00:13 29 Mar 2009

Will u be planting it FE..? sorry i cant answer or make a suggestion i dont have a clue..

  wolfie3000 07:11 29 Mar 2009

I think someone at Kew is your best bet FE,
There are thousands of tropical plants out there and without a picture i reckon no one on here will be able to identify it,

As for planting it, well im not sure thats a good idea as the climate here is alot different plus it wont be in its natural habitat so other plants, animals, bugs and fungi may stop it from germinating.

Best bet, contact websites like the Royal Horticultural Society

click here

  wolfie3000 07:18 29 Mar 2009

From the WWF's website.

"Borneo as a whole is conservatively estimated to contain 15,000 plant species, and may well have the highest plant diversity of any region on Earth."

May take some time to identify it then.

If you do find out what plant it is, please could you post on the forum as im quite curious as to what plant it comes from.

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