If there’s one place to look to find evidence of evolution in action, it’s in the reproductive strategies of plants. From their colorful tactics of attracting insects to pollinate their stigma, to the wind-born devices that trees have developed to carry their seeds beyond the arch of their massive branches, there is no denying that mother nature has put some time and energy into making sure her plants continue to thrive.
In the case of Mitragyna speciosa, nature seems to have taken the “cicada approach.” Rather than outsmart or outmaneuver the various threats to its development into a plant, the kratom seed’s success is based on sheer, brute, numerical force. To put it in numerical terms, each flower produces pod heads with roughly 50 pods per head, and each head can produce 50 seeds. A quick number crunch gives us upward of 2,500 seeds per flower! Which means these seeds are mighty, mighty small. This also means that their germination rate is very low as well. And thus we see mother nature’s grand design: keep them small, but make them many.
Since the kratom seed is so tiny (just have a gander at the scale photographs of seeds next to a penny), purchasing units are done in terms of weight, rather than number. Usually a 10 mg bag will contain somewhere between 150-200 seeds. Under ideal conditions and with fresh seeds, viability is normally around 20-25%. In natural conditions, the tiny seeds will settle gently into the forest floor. To reproduce this, all you need is to drop them into soil and cover with a fine, almost whispery layer of top soil. Meaning it doesn’t take a genius to grow his own Mitragyna speciosa, just someone with the time and energy to devote to cultivation.
It has been reported, though, that kratom seeds only stay viable for a few days. We have purchased many seeds from online retailers, and have not found this to be completely true. Most seeds didn’t sprout…in fact, we only got one plant to sprout from a rather large stock of seeds, and not surprisingly, these were seeds from our favorite online retailer; IAmShaman Shop.
The sheer number of seeds that this plant produces, would account for its very limited viability, and a perfect example of the sleek evolution of a species in order to increase its survival rate. If its seeds remain viable for only a few days, then it responded by making lots and lots of seeds…beautiful!