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Propagation of orchids for translocation

Orchid seedlings are produced by growing orchid seeds with their correct fungal partner.

Once the correct mycorrhizal fungus has been isolated, orchid seedlings can be produced by symbiotic germination. The seedlings can then be grown and planted into existing or new natural areas, in a conservation process known as translocation. 

The seeds are first sterilised in a dilute solution of bleach, then rinsed and sown over a culture of the fungus growing on oatmeal agar in a Petri dish. The dish is sealed with plastic film then incubated at 20°C with 12 hrs light per day.

When shoots begin to appear, the lid of the petri dish is removed and the dish is placed in a larger closed vessel (such as a takeaway food container) to allow the shoot room to grow. When the shoot is 2-3 cm tall, the seedlings are transferred to potting mix and grown on in a mini glasshouse before being transferred to an outdoor shelter.

Orchid seeds are sterilised using dilute bleach solution.

Sterilised seeds are sown over an appropriate fungal isolate.

Orchid seeds and fungi are incubated at 20 degrees C till shoots appear.