Most ephemerals and quite a few woodland species are what botany experts call "hydrophilic" meaning they are intolerant of dry storage. So much of your success on growing these plants from seed is based on their storage. In the seed trade you will find some seed sellers list that their seeds are either stored "fresh", dry/cold storage or dry storage. For this reason it is important to know the species of the plant in order to know not only it's germination requirements but also it's seed storage requirements.
In order for seeds to be packed "fresh" they need to be cleaned then stored in moist medium (usually vermiculite or sand). Here is how to pack your seeds when they need to be stored "fresh":
1. Place your seeds in a strainer and run them under water to clean them. If they are fleshy you will want to squish them between your fingers to remove the pulp. Rinse thoroughly and remove debris.
The following species should be sown when ripe or kept "fresh" for optimum germination (this is NOT a complete list-it is only a list of species I have dealt with):
Amenopsis (not native)
Helleborus (not native)
Some species of seeds can be stored dry but their viability will drop off quickly if not sown within a reasonable amount of time. Some of them will have their viability drop off quickly. Below is a list of species that can tolerate dry or dry/cold storage but remember that they can lose viability after a period of time:
Actaea (I prefer to store mine "fresh" for better germination)
Arisaema (I prefer to store mine "fresh" for better germination)
Just know that when dealing with with any seed saving or storing it is best to do research on the species to ensure you handle them appropriately. Research, research, research! Also, if you are dealing with any of these species or any other ephemerals they are best sown immediately after ripening if at all possible. Follow these tips and you can be successful storing and propagating them at a later date.
I hope this post has been useful for you-if you have any questions or comments just leave them below.
As always-Happy Planting!