Saturday, February 28, 2009

Germinating Orchid Seeds

Creatures from the Black Lagoon!!!

Yeah, maybe not, but just as rarely seen by the average human.

What you are seeing here are orchid seeds just beginning to germinate. They are Laelia tenebrosa 'Coast Ovelins' AM/AOS x self, OSP stock# 1071, 12 days post sowing (FAST!). Orchid seeds are tiny, dust like things (see also this post), so images were taken using ~30x magnification (if I remember the lens magnification correctly) on a dissecting 'scope. The first really obvious sign of orchid germination is the presence of tiny little green balls of undifferentiated tissue. From this the first leaf and first root arise. But before any of that, if you have a sharp eye you'll notice the seeds get "fat" and more noticeable on the plate. This is the stage you are viewing now.

The seeds with the opaque mass in the center are the ones that are growing. The ones that are thin and transparent are not growing. These may germinate at a later date, but more likely they will not germinate at all. The extra fat one is a little further along. In another week or two it should be obviously green and enlarged. The image above was taken with 'normal' light. The one below was taken using blue light and a red/green filter. With this setup, you can see the presence of active chlorophyll under this setup as evidenced by the red color of the fattest seed. Chlorophyll pigments naturally fluoresce red under blue light.

They're alive!!! Eek! :)


swamprad said...

So you purchased these seeds from OSP, sowed them yourself, and have now photographed them as they begin to germinate? This is way cool, seriously.

SapphireChild said...

Yes, they came from OSP. It just recently occurred to me that I've had access to this microscope for a long time but had never thought to use it for such a purpose. And, well, why not? Despite the fact that they look like little worms I think its an interesting peek into the secret life of plants. ;)

Clyde said...

Seeing your love of orchids, I invite you to visit my blog as we just got back from an orchid show and I took a lot of pictures.

Susan L said...

Will we be seeing more of these? I am interested in the next phases as well.

SapphireChild said...

Hi Susan,

Yes, actually, if I get a chance I plan to take some more photos this weekend or next.