In vitro culture and precocious germination ofTaxus embryos

Research paper by Hector E. Flores, Paula J. Sgrignoli

Indexed on: 01 Jul '91Published on: 01 Jul '91Published in: In vitro cellular & developmental biology. Plant : journal of the Tissue Culture Association


The lengthy dormancy requirement of yew seeds can be overcome with a simple in vitro method. Viable embryos were excised from seeds ofTaxus brevifolia and four cultivars ofT. media over a range of developmental stages. Embryos were cultured in several basal media formulations (Whites’, Gamborg’s B5 and Murashige and Skoog’s) under dark or light. After a lag period of 1 to 2 wk, embryos of both species germinated precociously. Germination rates of up to 70% were obtained withT. media cv. Hicksi embryos. The highest rates of germination were obtained in White’s and MS media. Embryos excised from green seeds with undeveloped arils showed the highest germination rates. As the seeds approached maturity, in vitro germination rates of the excised embryos declined dramatically. Green seeds and seeds with developing arils could be stored at 5° C without large loss in embryo germination. Seeds with fully developed arils could be stored frozen at −20° C for 1 wk while still allowing about 50% of embryo germination. At least 30% of the precociously germinated embryos of both species were able to develop into full seedlings. Our method appears to be generally applicable toTaxus spp.