Hero photograph
Photo by Hilary Johnson

"Test-Tube" Cloning of Baby Orchids

Hilary Johnson —

As part of a Year 12 Innovative Horticulture topic, students learn how to tissue culture (micro propagate) plants and they usually try this out on cauliflower, because even if commercially pointless it works well, cauliflower is readily available, and until recently has been quite inexpensive. Also, seeing baby cauliflower plants growing on nutrient jelly in sealed pottles is just simply amazing.

This year Nicky Geary, who owns and operates a local tissue culture laboratory ran some workshops at the College in which she guided some very fortunate Year 12 students through the process using orchids. We are fortunate to have the specialist equipment necessary for sterile conditions at the school, thanks to a generous donation from the Bay of Plenty Treecroppers Association several years ago, and to use it cloning orchids rather than cauliflower or apples was quite a thrill.

We now wait with bated breath to see what our success rate is. Thank you so much to Nicky and the Treecroppers.