Seed-saving: Pyrethrum Daisy

There’s a lot of seed-saving going on at this time of the year.

Pyrethrum is the daisy-looking one. The pretty blue cornflower-looking one is, unsurprisingly, cornflower.
Pyrethrum is the daisy-looking one. The pretty blue cornflower-looking one is, unsurprisingly, cornflower.

This is the pyrethrum daisy (chrysanthemum cinerariifolium). It’s apparently a good companion plant for brassicas in the fight against the cabbage white butterfly, and an insecticide by crushing the dried flower heads and soaking in water (off the top of my head – do your own research there, please). I’ve got a few scattered around the garden, and it’s very pretty as well as potentially useful. I’d like a few more, but I’m too busy/tired/lazy right now to do much about it.

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I’ll often pillage dried up flower heads full of seeds as I wander the garden and scatter them, willy nilly, in places I’d like more in the future. I’ve been doing that with these dried up pyrethrum flowers for a while now.

But I’ve been doing it wrong. I’ve been rubbing off the dried up miniature flower parts, like I do to the sunflowers to expose the seeds, but for some unknown reason, I thought I was spreading seeds. How embarrassing.

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These half disappeared parts are not the seeds. You’ve got to rub those off (and they come off easy if the flower is sufficiently dry) to get to the seeds.

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These are the seeds. They’re a little harder to rub off.

(Once the seeds are gone, you’re left with a hard little disk. Drill holes in them and string them on a necklace or something. Could be a valuable barter item in the zombie apocalypse.)

I de-seeded about 25 flowers, and then I tossed them on a perennial bed right outside the kitchen door. There’s no pyrethrum in there currently, so I’m crossing my fingers that some will germinate, and we’ll have daisies next year. Yay!

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