March 2, 2022

Orthodox Seeds - noun

Definition: Orthodox seeds are seeds that can survive drying or even freezing due to their ability to maintain a low moisture content. This characteristic allows them to retain viability during storage, in some cases for many years.

Orthodox Seeds in the Forest Garden:

A seed's ability to remain dormant under proper storage conditions can have numerous beneficial impacts on many levels. In nature, dormancy allows seeds to be further dispersed and to germinate when conditions are more favorable for healthy growth. For tree planters, orthodox seed species are particularly useful due to their ability to be stored for long periods before planting.

A great example of the benefits of orthodox seeds can be found in Kaffrine, Senegal. The TREES team has been able to save thousands of dollars on seeds while continuing to meet the growing seed demand of farmers in the region for years to come. Read more about the seed bank here (page 8). 

For most orthodox seeds to remain viable, the following conditions must be met: 

  • Seeds must have a very low moisture content before being placed in a storage container 

  • Selected storage container must be hermetically sealed (waterproof and airtight) 

  • Selected storage container must be kept in a cool, dry, dark place 

Want to learn more about agroforestry? Sign up for our FGTC newsletter here. Plus, join our FGTC Facebook Group to get connected with a global community of agroforesters.