The Open Door Web Site
Part XIX : Colonizing and Populating Habitats :
Asexual Reproduction : Introduction
African violets cultivated in vitro
COLONIZING AND POPULATING HABITATS
Asexual reproduction in Plants : Vegetative Propagation
Gardeners will take cuttings from plants and grow new plants from them. Some plants will easily grow roots if a piece of the stem or a leaf is put in water or damp soil. This is called vegetative propagation and some important crops, such as sugar cane, are grown in this way.
In vitro culture of plants
Today scientists have gone even further. They can grow plants by putting the cuttings in test tubes on specially prepared mixtures of chemicals called cultures. This is called in vitro culture. In vitro means "in glass". The piece of plant used can be very small, so one plant can produce thousands of offspring in this way. The mixture of chemicals is prepared in a jelly called agar. This agar jelly helps to support the plant whilst its roots grow and absorb the nourishment in the agar. In this way the conditions for the growth of the plant can be very carefully controlled. When these offspring have grown roots and leaves they can be transferred to soil where they will grow into adult plants.
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