Individual study: Sexual micropropagation of the critically endangered Christmas orchid Masdevallia tovarensis, Aragua, Venezuela
de Clavijo C.M. (2010) Sexual micropropagation of the critically endangered Christmas orchid Masdevallia tovarensis, Aragua, Venezuela. Conservation Evidence, 7, 87-90
The critically endangered Christmas orchid Masdevallia tovarensis is endemic to cloud forest within the state of Aragua (Colonia Tovar) northern Venezuela. Its propagation has been little studied, particularly regarding in vitro cultivation techniques. In an attempt to asymbiotically and sexually micropropagate this autochthonous species, seeds were used from indehiscent capsules obtained from nurseries in the vicinity of areas where this orchid naturally occurs. The effect of Murashige and Skoog nutrition medium, and different concentrations of thidiazuron, benzyladenine (BA) and naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) on seed germination were evaluated. In vitro asymbiotic germination was characterized by initial swelling of seeds, increase of embryo size and formation of protocorm-like bodies (PLBs), similar to those naturally generated during symbiotic germination. After three months, the PLBs started to sprout leaves and roots to form seedlings. In all treatments, the formation of PLBs was observed, although in higher number when using the combination BA (2.0 mg/l) + NAA (1.5 mg/l). A protocol was obtained that will enable mass propagation by means of asymbiotic germination of seeds in vitro.