Journal Article

Asymbiotic Germination Response to Photoperiod and Nutritional Media in Six Populations of <i>Calopogon tuberosus</i> var. <i>tuberosus</i> (Orchidaceae): Evidence for Ecotypic Differentiation

Philip J. Kauth, Michael E. Kane, Wagner A. Vendrame and Carrie Reinhardt-Adams

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 102, issue 5, pages 783-793
Published in print November 2008 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online August 2008 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcn163
Asymbiotic Germination Response to Photoperiod and Nutritional Media in Six Populations of Calopogon tuberosus var. tuberosus (Orchidaceae): Evidence for Ecotypic Differentiation

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  • Ecology and Conservation
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Background and Aims

Ecotypic differentiation has been explored in numerous plant species, but has been largely ignored in the Orchidaceae. Applying a specific germination protocol for widespread seed sources may be unreliable due to inherent physiological or genetic differences in localized populations. It is crucial to determine whether ecotypic differentiation exists for restoration and conservation programmes. Calopogon tuberosus var. tuberosus, a widespread terrestrial orchid of eastern North America, is a model species to explore ecotypic differences in germination requirements, as this species occupies diverse habitats spanning a wide geographical range.

Methods

Mature seeds were collected from south Florida, north central Florida, three locations in South Carolina, and the upper Michigan peninsula. Effects of three photoperiods (8/16, 12/12, 16/8 h L/D) were examined on asymbiotic in vitro seed germination and seedling development of C. tuberosus. Germination and early development was monitored for 8 weeks, while advanced development was monitored for an additional 8 weeks. In an additional experiment, asymbiotic seed germination and development was monitored for 8 weeks on six culture media (BM-1 terrestrial orchid medium, Knudson C, Malmgrem, half-strength MS, P723, and Vacin and Went). A tetrazolium test for embryo viability was performed.

Key Results

Short days promoted the highest germination among Florida populations, but few differences among photoperiods in other seed sources existed. Different media had little effect on the germination of Michigan and Florida populations, but germination of South Carolina seeds was higher on media with higher calcium and magnesium. Tetrazolium testing confirmed that South Carolina seeds exhibited low viability while viability was higher in Florida seeds. Seed germination and corm formation was rapid in Michigan seeds across all treatments. Michigan seedlings allocated more biomass to corms compared with other seed sources.

Conclusions

Rapid germination and corm formation may be a survival mechanism in response to a compressed growing season in northern populations. Ecotypic differentiation may be occurring based on seed germination and corm formation data.

Keywords: Asymbiotic germination; corm development; Calopogon tuberosus; ecotypic differentiation; native orchid; orchid seed germination; seedling development

Journal Article.  5342 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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