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Micropropagation of Wiregrass and Creeping Bluestem, and Propagation of Gopher Apple


Insufficient quantities of high quality plant material have limited the use of native species in phosphate mine reclamation. Micropropagation was evaluated as a means of producing two keystone native grasses – Aristida beyrichiana(wiregrass) and Schizachyrium scoparium var. stoloniferum( creeping bluestem). Preliminary work was also conducted on Licania michauxii (gopher apple), a species of extremely limited supply but which seems to be a prime candidate species for use in mine reclamation. Shoot multiplication cultures of creeping bluestem were established from somatic embryos. Acclimatized tubelings exhibited good to excellent survival on sand tailings and overburden. Somatic embryos were also encapsulated in an alginate gel to form synthetic seed. While the number of synthetic seed produced was limited, it was clear that best germination under greenhouse conditions was when growth regulators were incorporated in the gel. Establishment and maintenance of embryogenic callus of wiregrass was very difficult and hence results were limited. However, wiregrass plants were regenerated from embryogenic callus and grown to maturity. For gopher apple, methods were developed for establishing clean in vitro cultures. Ninety to 100 percent of stem tip cuttings rooted when cuttings were taken in April or May.