In selecting seeds for growing fruit-tree stocks it is desirable to secure those from primitive or nearly primitive types and species. The abnormal development of the edible portion of fruits is not favorable for the development of plump and perfect seeds. In many of the highly developed fruits of the apple, pear, cherry, plum, grape, pineapple, banana, and tomato we find no per-fect seed, and the few capable of germination fail to develop strong, healthy seedlings. A well-known propagator has said that he would sooner pay twenty-five dollars for a bushel of Red Romanite apple-seed than to have the seed of Yellow Bellflower and Grimes Golden as a gift. Experience has also shown that the pits of our highly-developed cherries and plums are either entirely abortive or of little value for stocks on account of feeble growth. On the other hand, the pits of the wild cherries of Europe or of our native wild red cherry develop vigorous, strong-growing stocks, and the same is true of the primitive plums of Europe and America.
Over all parts of Europe the seeds of the native primitive orchard fruits are alone used for stocks. In the States where safe from root-killing these European wild stocks are also prized on account of their uniform and vigorous growth. This has favored the use of French crab-seed, the seed of the small Perry pears of Europe, and the use of the primitive Mazzard and Mahaleb cherry stocks, as well as stocks of the Myrobalan and St. Julien plum. These imported primitive stocks are found to develop strong, uniform seedlings, while those from cider-press seed or from marketable fruits of any kind are weak, uneven, and relatively worthless. As the years go on, more attention will be given to gathering our native seeds for propagation where possible; and if imported, let it be from the parts of Europe corresponding in climate most nearly to the different parts of our Union.
For commercial use and transportation such carbonaceous seeds as apple, pear, quince, and the small fruits require careful drying and storing in a dry room. Freezing will not harm them if kept dry. The conifer seed can also be kept dry until time for planting. The subtropical flower-seeds and fruit-seeds not only require dry storage quarters, but freedom from severe freezing. If kept dry they may germinate, but their vitality will be low if frozen.