Saturday, October 24, 2009

That's Not Lint

Orchid Seed and Seed PodFriday I lingered at work, quietly making use of the tissue culture hood for some clandestine seed sowing. (makes it sound spicy, doesn't it, like James Bond was involved) In actuality, I'm almost always there late, and doing my seed sowing late on Friday means I'm neither in anyone's way nor taking up valuable time I could be using to dissect genomes.

Today I split open and sowed Paph (Hsinying Alien x wardii), a cross I made mostly for awesome foliage. The seeds were a lovely dark brown and rather large on the orchid seed scale. There were a good number that looked viable. Hopefully they'll germinate.

While struggling to get them out of the pod and into a tube for sterilization, I once again had that realization that they look like dust or lint. They act like it, too. They fly every which way, get stuck on paper, stick to the inside of the tubes by static. This, combined with losses stuck to tubes, pipettes, and lost in washes during sterilization can result in loss of what seems like a third to a half of the seed. In actuality, I'm not going to count and find out, even if I should by some miracle catch them all.

The photo attached is of a set of seeds which were sown late spring/early summer (Lc. Green Veil 'Dressy' x Sc. June Bug 'Venice Sunshine'). This bunch was actually rather well behaved, perhaps because I split the pod when it was still green. The little pile of seeds in the bottom left were sown on three plates, one of which was contaminated. The remaining two are now covered with protocorms. The rest of the seed is in storage.

Also today I split open a pod from a Nobile dendrobium x Dend tetragonum, made for "what ifs". The pod had developed very nicely. Unfortunately, it produced no seed.


Leslie said...

That's so cool. I'd love to be able to do that!

SapphireChild said...

Well, you should look into "home tissue culture" by Carol Stiff.

I'm personally attached to my specialized equipment, because that's what I'm used to, but you can do everything with a pressure cooker and a home-made glove box (though I still maintain an inexpensive sterile hood will give more consistent results). For containers, you can do what I do for older plants, a trick I learned from AJ of the Orchid Seedbank Project: Mason/canning Jars with a little hole poked in the lid covered by one of those round band-aids for clean ventilation. Cheap, easy, accessible. :)