Monday, December 1, 2008

Orchid Seed Capsule

I did a post on this Dendrobium orchid in September that you can see here
I found an unusual find, there is a seed capsule, it must have been pollinated by an ant or a gnat. I'm not quite sure. I find it odd since this plant is indoors. There isn't much I can do with the capsule as I don't own a laboratory. There is a lot of science involved which is better explained by an expert. I know Wikipedia is imperfect sometimes but this information is accurate enough to give you an idea of how this complex process works. I made a few minor edits.

The seeds are generally almost microscopic and very numerous, in some species over a million per capsule. After ripening they blow off like dust particles or spores. They lack endosperm and must enter symbiotic relationship with various mycorrhizal basidiomyceteous fungi that provide them the necessary nutrients to germinate, so that all orchid species are mycoheterotrophic during germination and reliant upon fungi to complete their lifecycle. As the chance for a seed to meet a fitting fungus is very small, only a minute fraction of all the seeds released grow into an adult plant. In cultivation, germination typically takes weeks, while there is a report of one paphiopedilum that took fifteen years.

Horticultural techniques have been devised for germinating seeds on a nutrient-containing gel, eliminating the requirement of the fungus for germination, greatly aiding the propagation of ornamental orchids. The main component for the sowing of orchids in artificial conditions is the agar. The substance is put together with some type of carbohydrate (actually, some kind of glucose) which provides qualitative organic feed. Such substance may be banana, pineapple, peach or even tomato puree or coconut milk. After the cooking of the agar (it has to be cooked in sterile conditions) the mix is poured into test tubes or jars where the substance begins to jelly. The seeds have to be put in the dish above boiling water, in the steam because that secures sterile conditions. The test tubes are put diagonally after that.

from wikipedia

The seed capsule is at the rear far left.
Nice picture of the flowers they are getting more light now and the flowers are smaller.
Close up of the seed capsule
Another close-up you can see the floral remants!
Creative Commons License
Orchid Seed Pod by Eric Bronson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at


Anonymous said...

Yay! Lucky you! You can mail them to a flasker dry seed or immature. I know several orchid nursuries that have labs can do it for you for a reasonable price! If you really want to flask them I'd give it a try! I think if you have an AOS orchid source directory you could check in there they usualy list if they provide flasking services. Good luck!

I likE plants! said...

That's a good idea!!! I'll have to do a little research.