Micropropagation of Brunsvigia undulata F.M. Leight.
Rice, Laura Jane.
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Many South African medicinal plants face the threat of over-collection for use in traditional medicines. Many bulbous plants suffer as the whole plant is removed from the wild so that the bulb may be used for medicine. Micropropagation is a technique which can be used as an alternative to conventional propagation methods. Micropropagation produces many plantlets in a relatively short period of time. Different plant parts of Brunsvigia undulata F.M. Leight, a rare South African species of medicinal value, were used in an attempt to produce in vitro plantlets using micropropagation techniques. Although leaf and floral explants were successfully formed from seedling explants and twin-scales. Seeds germinated quickly in culture. Seedlings which grew from seeds were cut into sections and used to initiate bulblets. Seedling explants formed bulblets, shoots and callus best when the explants included a meristematic region. Callus from seedling explants formed shoot clusters readily when placed on hormone-free MURASHIGE and SKOOG (1962) (MS) medium. Shoots from shoot clusters formed bulblets and rooted on medium supplemented with IBA. The greatest rooting response was achieved by bulblets on 1 mgl-1 IBA. The callus which was left after shoot clusters were separated was placed back onto hormone-free MS medium. Callus explants continued to form shoot clusters. Twin-scales, cut from large parent bulbs, were cultured on 25 hormone treatments. Bulblets formed on twin-scales even in the absence of plant growth hormones. Bulblets formed by twin-scales were used to determine the effects of both medium constituents and environmental factors on bulblet multiplication. Bulblet multiplication was greatest when bulblets were split in half and cultured as half-bulblets. Optimal multiplication was achieved on hormone-free MS, with 4% sucrose, kept at high temperatures in the dark. Bulblets were successfully initiated and multiplied from both seedlings and twin-scales. Bulblets which were produced via both protocols were acclimatized relatively easily. Both explant types could be used to mass propagate Brunsvigia undulata.