When are seeds ready to be harvested?
Image by: wintersown
Snow Aster in Seed Look closely at the stem where the flower had formed. If the flower was pollinated then the base of the flower began to swell. Some plants form their seeds in pods. Some plants, like daisies and coneflowers, form their seeds without a pod, they make an array of seeds that is reminicent in shape of a pincushion. The seeds are standing close together attached to the stem where the "eye" or "cone" of the flower was.
When seeds are ripe and ready to disperse the plant no longer needs to supply nutrients to them. Mother Nature is very efficient and she does not waste. Because the seeds are no longer recieving the water or sugars that were neccesary during their formation the stem is now dying back and turning a papery-brown color.
If the seeds are in a pod you will see the pod turn brown and begin to split open to disperse its seeds. These seed are now ripe and they may be collected for drying.
If the seeds are attached to the stem and are not within a pod they too will brown and then loosen very easily from the plant when you clasp them, they may now be collected for drying.
Any plant that you have to tug at the pod or seed cluster to remove the seeds has not matured its seeds. They are not ready to disperse.
Ripe seeds are easily gathered from a plant. A plant's readiness to disperse its seeds is a consistantly clear signal that you may collect those seeds.