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More plants with Plant Tissue Culture
February 08, 2010

Valentines Day is still a week away, but I had to give this letter a V-Day look any way.

Welcome new readers.

Please stick around.

Hopefully we will become friends and possibly learn from each other as well.

I talk a bit about us and our happenings.

You will read as I mention of the fur kids and a few personal tidbits on me as well.


So you understand that I am a real person and not a form letter.

I have gone through some experiences and hopefully can assist others along the trail.


Thank you everyone for your prayers and well wishes regarding to Karen and her pacemaker.

She is doing well.

This is proving to be one wimpy winter here in SW. Michigan.

Snow fall is way down and thankfully, we haven't felt the full brunt of the Arctic air.

Plants need snow protection when the mercury really drops.

We are lucky if we have 2" of white covering most of the ground while parts of the country were buried once again this past weekend.

Winter started out so promising for us in my neck of the woods.

Possible sunshine is down too, and it is becoming quite noticeable in people and their attitudes.

Since December 1st. we have managed a bit over 19% of possible sunshine.

A full 6% to 10% less from December 1st till now.

Oh well, you gotta take the bad with the good I suppose (when it comes to weather).

Anything will do right now.

Karen's itch is for me to finish the 'Honey Do List' before Spring arrives.

I'm almost finished redoing the family room.

About an hour after sunset, you can look to the East and see the red planet Mars about 1/3 to 1/2 up from the eastern horizon.

Directly to its south is 'Orion', dominant constellation in the winter sky.

Sunsets are now past 6:00 PM in the western edge of the time zone and I must admit.

I'm getting the itch too.

The itch to get my hands dirty.

To smell the earth and to plant something.

Keet (Akita) and I still go for our evening walks and Ziggy the poodle manages a short one.

I planted my Amaryllis bulbs a little more than a week ago and they are already showing signs of life.

Some buds are almost 2 inches high already.

It would be nice if all plantings took off like that.

I plant my Amaryllis this time of year so I have color when we desperately need it.

Bird activity is still in full force.

Northern cardinals, White-breasted nuthatches, Tufted-tit mice, Mourning doves, Black-capped chickadees, Tree sparrows, Hairy woodpeckers, Downy woodpeckers and a Red-bellied woodpecker or two, Blue jays and House finches frequent my feeders.

I can't forget American goldfinches and Dark-eyed juncos

On occasion, I have had some visits from a couple of Red-breasted nuthatches and have yet to see a Purple finch this winter.

Throw in more House sparrows than I care to have and some nomadic European starlings as well.

A female Cooper's hawk has made my yard her dining hangout, though I haven't seen much of her the past several days.

Maybe she is getting her Happy Meals else where for now.

American crows are all over the place, but not a one stops by.

Yes, feeders are usually busy and the birdbath (with heater) is always ready for them as well.

A Reminder ............. This year's 'Great Backyard bird Count' is February 12-15, 2010.

If you haven't registered for the bird count, please do so soon.

We should remain alert for any new birds wandering down from the North Country.

If deep snows return, put some grit out for the birds. Birds need it to digest their food.

Suet will be in big demand for the remainder of winter, and even more so from March to August during the nesting season.

Open water and well stocked bird feeders can increase the survival of birds during extreme winters by up to 50%.

If you choose to plant for wildlife this spring begin planning now.

'Gardening For Wildlife' is what we are all about.

The more native plants you can plant and grow, the greater chance you have of attracting a nice bird population year round.

Not to mention some furry creatures a toad or two and whatever wanders by.

Native plants and habitats are so important and planning now will make the job easier this spring.

Be sure to check out the Gardening for wildlife on trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers.

I think I will be wrapping up this short series on plants next week.

Previously, I touched on Proven Winners®, Plant Sports, Hybridizing and Genetic Alterations

If you are new and want to read previous letters, go to the archives .

If you have a topic you would like for me to write on, feel free to ask and I will see what I can do.

Today, we touch on Plant Tissue Culture.


You found what appears to be a very unique Echinacea growing in you garden.

Maybe you have this strange, different looking yet, very attractive young, weeping branch growing from your old maple tree.

Possibly you dabble in hybridizing and out of the 1000's of seeds you planted, the following year one single plant has some characteristics like no other you've ever seen.

It could be you are knowledgeable enough to mess with genetic alterations and you have come upon the right combination of DNA to create a strawberry scented geranium or lilac scented petunia.

These plants are so special, you just know they will take the market by storm.

But how do you produce that many plants in a short period of time to make it worth while.

We've all done this before.

Snip off a piece of philodendron, African violet or possibly a sedum from the garden.

You stick the cut piece or leaf in some water or potting soil and wait for it to root and grow.

This is called Vegetative reproduction, a type of asexual reproduction for plants.

It is also called vegetative propagation, vegetative multiplication, or vegetative cloning.

This is a process by which new plant "individuals" are obtained without production of seeds or spores.

Exact look alikes.

Clones of the parent plant.

It is both a natural process in many plant species (as well as non-plant organisms such as bacteria and fungi) and one used or encouraged by horticulturists to obtain quantities of economically valuable plants.

A related technique used in cultivation is tissue culture, which involves vegetative reproduction under select conditions.

Plant tissue culture is a practice used to propagate thousands or millions of plants under sterile or semi sterile conditions, often to produce clones of a plant.

Different techniques in plant tissue culture may offer certain advantages over traditional methods of propagation, including:

The production of exact copies of plants that produce particularly good flowers, fruits, or have other desirable traits.

To quickly produce mature plants.

The production of multiples of plants in the absence of seeds or necessary pollinators to produce seeds.

The regeneration of whole plants from plant cells that have been genetically modified.

The production of plants in sterile containers that allows them to be moved with greatly reduced chances of transmitting diseases, pests, and pathogens.

The production of plants from seeds that otherwise have very low chances of germinating and growing, i.e.: orchids and nepenthes.

To clean particular plant of viral and other infections and to quickly multiply these plants as 'cleaned stock' for horticulture and agriculture.

This is key, so please pay attention to this.

Plant tissue culture relies on the fact that many plant cells have the ability to regenerate a whole plant (totipotency).

Totipotent simply means that, each cell possesses the genetic information and cellular machinery necessary to generate an entire organism.

Single cells, plant cells without cell walls (protoplasts), pieces of leaves, or (less commonly) roots can often be used to generate a new plant on culture media given the required nutrients and plant hormones.

Plant tissue culture (micropropagation) This technique is effective because almost all plant cells are totipotent.

The benefits of plant tissue culture are extensive in the agricultural world.

Micropropagation is favorable to traditional crop breeding methods in many respects, the first being that it allows for the production of huge numbers of plants in a very short period of time.

In the Netherlands alone, over 100,000,000 plants are produced using micropropagation each year.

Plant tissue culture is also advantageous to growers because the overwhelming number of plants can be produced using the tissue collected from a single parent plant – a plant which itself remains unharmed in the tissue harvesting process.

Crop production through micropropagation also eliminates the possibility of any interruption in the growing season because it can be carried out inside the carefully regulated environment of a greenhouse.

Because the chemical and physical environment inside a greenhouse can be closely monitored, any lull in production that might typically occur as a result of seasonal change can be avoided.

Plant Tissue Culture?

, have you ever had a plant that is so unique or so beautiful that you wished you had hundreds or thousands of them to enjoy or to sell?

Actually, it is no more of a mystery than taking a cutting of your favorite house plant and growing it to share with a friend.

As for being technical, you can begin plant tissue culture with as little as a cookbook approach and a feeling for sterile technique.

Some people have visions of scientists doing plant tissue cultures in white gowns and masks in hospital-clean environments.

Such conditions are excessive.

While it is true that mold spores, bacteria, and other contaminants will grow and overrun a culture, air that is not moving has a minimum of contaminants. In addition, disinfection of implements, work surface and nearby areas helps eliminate contaminants.

Selecting plant sources. Some species, or even clones are easier to grow in culture than others.

Some respond reluctantly to culture, some do not respond at all, and many plants have never been tried.

Choosing a growth medium (price, convenience, type of plant and purpose of the micropropagation all enter into this decision.)

How important are the kinds of hormones used? On limited scale, media ingredients are available at the grocery and health food stores.

Suggestions for media preparation and sterilization.

Given certain basics there are many options for procedure, equipment and supplies for plant tissue culture.

Some of your decisions will be based upon the amount of time, money and space you have.

Other decisions will be based upon why you are doing plant tissue culture and what you expect as a result (more plants?) .

It's not for me, but it may be for you.

Catalogs, such as Sigma, Carolina Biological, or Edmund Scientific are good reference and they are for purchasing needed materials..

One last side note:

Some plant cultures must reproduce with human help every year by seed, like F1 hybrids.

F1 hybrid is a term used in genetics and selective breeding. F1 stands for Filial 1, the first filial generation seeds/plants or animal offspring resulting from a cross mating of distinctly different parental types.[1]

The term is sometimes written with a subscript, as F1 hybrid.[2][3]

The offspring of distinctly different parental types produce a new, uniform variety with specific characteristics from either or both parents.

Without getting to technical, you now have the basics on 'plant tissue culture'.

Well, it's time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought of the week.

This week I have to end this letter with a love theme and definition

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.

1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 8

It can't get any better then that.

A fitting way to end a letter, don't you think.

Until next time,

God Bless.

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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