Wednesday, June 25, 2008

We are doing some loose experimental trials with our abundance of Shortia seed

Because we were able to collect such a great number of seeds and because the available information on growing Shortia from seed is so sparse, we decided to apply some varied treatments to groups of our seeds, we set up an experiment.
Shortia seed is technically, recalcitrant which means that it is short-lived and difficult to germinate. Anything we learn will be information added to essentially a vacuum!

We are varying the medium, the location (and by doing so, the watering), and we are doing a leachate treatment. One group is in the shaded tent you can see pictured to the right, another group is under mist in the Propagation House, and the last group is in a Forest Location. Each group includes seed trays with seeds in either our "Shortia Mix" or that mix with leaf mould added. Additionally, there are trays under the tent that will be regularly watered with leachate from w Shortia plants we purchased in North Carolina.

The complexities of germination and growth are only slowly being unraveled for all plants; about Shortia we know next to nothing. We do know that in some instances with some plants there are exudates from roots or even soil fungi that are helpful, if not essential, to the germination or growth of those particular species. In the picture, John, the Fern Valley Summer Intern, is building a device that will suspend the two pots of Shortia over that 5 gallon bucket and allow us to contain the water that leaches through their pots when they are irrigated. Thats what we are applying to a group of seed trays in hopes that it will positively affect germination or growth!

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