Chimera African Violet -Flower Stem Propagation?

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I read in the Sept/Oct 215 African Violet Magazine, Vol 68 page 48, an article titled “Propagating from Flower Stems.  As that is what I do using tissue culture media instead of potting mix, I was interested in what it had to say.  But what got my attention was not the fact that the author propagated plants with flower stalks but with calyces.  So what is calyces?  Well it is collectively all the sepals, they are called calyx (plural calyces), the outermost whorl of parts that form a flower (below the petals).  See illustration and explanation. Now that seemed unusual to me.  Using the flower stems will produce true chimera African violets, but the calyces?   So I decided I needed to try that using some Concord flower stems and calyces, all placed in my standard tissue culture method.  I placed three calyces, pedicel, ovary, calyx, and all in one tube and then some flower stems as I always do as a control in another test tube.  After 4 months the standard flower stems produced some nice Concord plantlets which were removed from the tube and potted.  After 5 months one of the three pedicels produced a mass of stems and leaves around itself, the other two pedicels showed no sign of growth. See below.

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After removing all the material from the culture tube one can see two  (calyces) with no growth, and frankly they look dead, and one  totally surrounded in leaves and stems.

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I pulled away a portion of the leaves and stems to reveal that a large callus had formed around the base of the ovary and the leaves and stems developed from them.

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After I carefully dissected away the plants from the callus, I was able to recover four plantlets.  The callus growth is now obvious around the pedicel of one flower part and did not originate from the calyces. (see above).

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This is the image of the four plantlets.  The interesting question is what will the blooms look like?  Most certainly they will not be true blooming Concords.  I will post the outcome when they bloom.

4 Comments

  1. Posted July 21, 2016 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    I’ve done this with chimeras before, and yes, they mostly bloom true from this method. I didn’t use the tissue culture gel, rather just perlite, but had similar luck in getting the sepals to take.

  2. admin
    Posted July 24, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the insight. This has been an eye opener for me. Also an article just came out in AVM this month with another person growing chimeras this way. Except they were using potting media.

  3. Luis
    Posted June 15, 2017 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    Curious about the results from your experiments.

  4. admin
    Posted July 4, 2017 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Sorry for the delay in response. It was a total failure. I actually attempted it a second time and the outcome was the same, zero success. Not one single viable plant was produced.

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