Monday, July 6, 2015

Welwitschia mirabilis : I'm back in the game!

Welwitschia germinating: something's happening!

Welwitschia germinating: the cotyledons appear. 

Welwitschia germinating: the  cotyledons seen from another angle.

Welwitschia germinating: the cotyledons arise. 
Welwitschia cotyledons beginning to spread

Welwitschia: another plant with cotyledons beginning to spread; there are now four plants with cotyledons.
Welwitschia: Look carefully and you can make out the developing true leaves between the cotyledons.

Welwitschia: the true leaves are growing out nicely. 
Welwitschia mirabilis twenty-five days after the image above was made; growing out slowly. 
Welwitachia mirabilis seedlings on October 26, 2015

Welwitschia mirabilis: what's left of the fifteen-year-old plant. 

Back in 1992 I obtained a yearling plant of Welwitschia mirabilis at one of the Green Spring sales. That plant is mentioned in several earlier blog entries.
After fifteen years in my care, that plant died. That's what you see in the image of the dead plant.
In 2008 I ordered seeds from Silverhill but did not plant them: they went into the refrigerator, where most of them have been since. On July 27, 2015 I took out six seeds to give them a try. On July 30, 2015 two of those seeds showed signs of germination. During the next few days the radical on these plants extended down into the ground. By August 3, 2015, three of the seeds showed signs of germination. By August 5, the first cotyledons began to appear. By August 6, 2015, those first cotyledons are upright but un-expanded. By August 9, they began to expand and separate.
This is so exciting! But I might be counting my chickens as they hatch: a review of the current literature suggests that germination is the easy part: keeping the seedlings alive during the first few months, when they are said to be very vulnerable to fungal attacks, can be a challenge. We'll see. But in any case, I'm back in the game. 

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