I found that post by Guy and copied the image and text to put it below (on this same thread). His image shows well what properly stratified seed / embryo should look like.
Below is from Guy:
In the past members have asked me to explain further the checking of the seed embryo to determine if it is worth buying. First you crack the seed open along the centre line the seed will split in halves. I use a knife but the old growers can use their teeth. The seed should look like this right out of the stratification box in late september.The embryo has a yellow green colour and sticks out from the bean.
The bottom left seed is ready to sprout the root. All these seeds were smiling showing proper moisture content and embryo growth. Green seed has a small 2mm or 1/16\" in size embryo and is tuff to crack open.
While you are checking for proper conditioning you can also check for diseases this is why I use a knife not my teeth.
I have bought seed from Larry Harding for years. The seed I bought from him last fall came up just fine. The seed I suspect to be green seed was purchased from another supplier and I will not buy from them again. However it is obvious that some did not that was purchased later on from Harding's according to the postings did not germinate. Harding's always been a reputable dealer and I think one of us should break the news to him that there is a problem. I will do it if you all would like me to. Or you can call him just let me know.
I emailed Larry the details and images of what look like green seed.
He called me back on the phone in about 20 minutes.
He said that he did \"stratify\" that seed himself and that he planted 60 lbs of it and he got basically the same results as I did - almost none sprouted.
He was puzzled by the results and told me that if it does not come up next spring for me to let him know and he would replace the seed at no cost. That was the deal he offered anyway and while that is not ideal - I am OK with that.
I asked him about cracking seeds and checking embryo size and he talked like he never does that.
He thought it was just a freak thing that happened to his seed this time and talked like he has had occasions in the past where that happened too. He mentioned 200 lbs that he sold to someone in Australia that he had similar problems with.
When I asked him about embryo size and gave him the details that Guy had provided - he just sort of acted like he never paid any attention to that.
He talked about how he stratifies his seed some and I found that to be somewhat odd (or at least not what I have heard of to be normal).
He said he uses raised insulated stratification boxes when stratifying seed outdoors and also has some stratification boxes that he keeps under his house in the crawl space. Both cases the boxes are not burried, but remain above ground.
Perhaps that is part of the problem and that method may work part time but fail at times too.
I am not sure about that, but that is all the update I have at this point.
I told Larry I would email him some pics of seeds with embryo that is developed as they should be if properly stratified and I am going to send him the pic that Guy provided.
Not sure if he will have more comments, but if he does I will let you know.
I am glad you were able to talk to Larry. Larry is honest. I am sure he will stand behind his seed and it sounds like he has made good with an offer to replace your seed next year if it does not come up.
Like I have stated I bought seed from two other suppliers that did not germinate well and the seed is still White and firm inside. So I am not sure what has caused this since it is multi-state wide.
I guess the good news is it sounds like a lot of it will come up next year.
He sent me another few pics of ground he planted in March 2011 from the same seed source.
This pic only shows the ground prep'd and the seed.
Looks like he basically takes a tractor and disk and disk up the soil and works the leaves in and then broad cast the seed and then puts straw on top. You can see the straw in that earlier pic.
That is interesting.
In this huge area that he planted (same seed source) in March 2011 - he said hardly any germinated. He sent a pic, but I could not see any 3 leafers present so not including it. There were a lot of weeds up but none or very little seng.
I wonder if it is just not good to keep stratified seed in the stratification containers past fall (you know thru the winter and into early spring).
Perhaps that does something that makes them stay dormant longer.
Perhaps they need to be exposed to more extremes in temp changes - like if they were planted in the ground in the fall then went thru all of that cold weather just under the soil surface.
I still don't understand why there appears to be no embryo development in the seeds - that is if they are the same seeds he got that very good germination from when planted last fall.