Asymbiotic seed germination and in vitro seedling development of Habenaria macroceratitis (Orchidaceae), a rare Florida terrestrial orchid

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Abstract

Continuing loss of native orchid habitat has lead to an increased emphasis on orchid conservation. Major obstacles in the production of native orchid seedlings for use in conservation have been: (1) development of efficient and reliable seed germination protocols and (2) an understanding of early seedling growth and development. Effects of six asymbiotic media (Modified Lucke, Murashige & Skoog, Lindemann, Vacin & Went, Malmgren Modified, Knudson C), four exogenous cytokinins (BA, Zea, Kin, 2-iP), and three photoperiods (0/24, 16/8, 24/0 h L/D) were examined on seed germination and early protocorm development of Habenaria macroceratitis, a rare native Florida terrestrial orchid. Finally, the effects of three photoperiods (8/16, 12/12, 16/8 h L/D) on in vitro seedling development were examined. Percent seed germination was highest on both LM and KC after seven weeks culture (LM = 89.1%, KC = 89.2%); however, protocorm development was enhanced on MM after both seven and 16 weeks. Both zeatin and kinetin at 1 μM enhanced seed germination (Zea = 58.1%, Kin = 47.2%). Final percent seed germination (91.7%) and protocorm development (Stage 4) was increased in the absence of light (0/24 h L/D). In vitro seedlings cultured under 8/16 h L/D conditions produced the highest number of tubers per seedling (1.06) with the greatest tuber (42.7 μg) and shoot (fwt = 69.5 μg) biomass and tuber diameter (3.1 mm).

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