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(Information is in chronological order, more or less)
As mentioned below, I am again dealing this winter with sixspotted spider mites inside the house, some of whom were brought inside on purpose. Curious as to why I would invite these little pernicious beings into my house again? Well, see the Mite 2011 page for details on that, and understand that it was partially so I could finally id the mites picking upon the grapefruit tree in the citrus grove and demonstrates my first attempt at using plumeria (Plumeria rubra to be exact) as a trap plant, and they appear to work rather well for that purpose. This is not of surprise as they've been catching mites for years, and aren't as sticky as some traps I'll be dealing with in 2012 under the microscope.
LED lighting and using less energy to achieve the same goals, blooms! Check out the LED lighting page to see what this is all about, but get ready for tender (even if large and luxuriant) leaves, at least so far.
Another Embryo 2 clone has joined the list of tissue cultured plants which are blooming. Although the first blooms were messed up, further ones are looking more like its clonal sibling. To see what I am talking about, checking out Embryo 2 blooms page.
The darn sixspotted spider mite, those which cause black necrotic tissues within a day or two, they are back sooner than I had anticipated, having traveled indoors on the P. obtusa which was placed in a room with a few tissue culture clones recently reintroduced to "natural" conditions. Although they do not do much damage to P. obtusa, they are very damaging to both P. rubra and unfortunately P. x stenopetala too. It is a most fortunate thing that another test subject (a P. rubra which was situated under my grapefruit tree all summer long) was enclosed in it's own structure so those mites which were gathered on it won't be affected by the others which may have incidentally come in on other plants which were outside all summer long, including the P. x stenopetala clones in bloom that are just west of the mite tent (see the below link for further information on that). See the Embryo 2 blooms page for an image of damage upon one of those clones.
Another Plumeria x stenopetala embryo joins the ever growing group of blooming tissue cultured plants. Below is Embryo 2 which shows both a shorter and wider petal than it's sibling and looks more like half of the parent stock for this hybrid species, P. stenophylla.
Image 11-23-11 under LED lights and, no, it is not purple. See link to Embryo 2 blooms for natural light image.
Inchworms. Although they don't appear to have the ability to survive for very long off of Plumeria rubra, these little pests do very well upon P. x stenopetala. UPDATE - Although the attempt was made to "house" a larvae of these, it escaped the meshed confines I had used to enclose it. As a kid I did better raising lepidoptera (multiple monarch butterflies raised through larvae/pupa/butterfly stages, then released) than I apparently do as an adult. SCRATCH THAT. One hitched a ride indoors and is now being studied, more than likely the same which escaped the mesh bag (see above for details).
Stem rot victim produces first bloom. Although this one wasn't put through tissue culture, siblings of it have, via the adult method, as mentioned below. But, it's not a shell, even if it came from a parent that was. Images showing stem rot damage have been added to the stem rot bloom page.
Kauai 1 of 5 bloom pics. Finally, one I've been waiting years to see out of one of the central stars from early work.
As I've noted the x stenopetala reference upon more than one site, I have amended the pages which deal with Plumeria x stenopetala so that it indicates the hybrid origin. See NTGB for information.
If you have been curious about plumeria Brix levels (how much sugar does it have?) contained in those secretions from the extrafloral nectaries and the drops provided by forming blooms, then check out the Brix page under blooms. New readings added 10-21-11. Off the scale readings.
Since October has come and gone, and fall storms have already tromped through, all the plants are in the greenhouse. To see how they compare now to the first October they were in there five years ago, check this out.
There is a fourth menu image/button/item, blooms. Finally there are bloom images (more added 10-19-11) to share which are from tissue cultured plants from the lab. Look soon for more images to join those from the first one from this season. As well, there are now sections showing adult explant stock, one showing the very first adult Plumeria rubra plants which had been tissue cultured in the previous decade. One of the adult explant donors died though, and the other has three (strike that, make it two - phenotypic traits have narrowed things down) possible donors. All of them are of redshell (bloom in PTC logo) heritage. See the blooms/adult explant section for more on this.
Updates. 2011 is still fairly quiet in regards to mites, although the plants did have to endure an infestation of Western Flower Thrips during late spring in the greenhouse. Although there was no forming blooms clusters at that time, so no flowers, they appeared not to mind in the least, making the newly forming leaves into nurseries. Treatment helped rid the plants of them and after moving outdoors there are no problems evident. Predators - Below is an example of one which can protect delicately forming tissues from other arthropods. See Predators to view others, especially a very viable one, who up until now has only been a pest. Hint: Little Black Ant, Monomorium minimum.
This year, 2011, multiple plants are forming bloom clusters and it will be quite a show once things get going. Beyond the above common yellow, nothing else had anything to show but later this fall it will be fun and into this winter in the greenhouse.
Even though there has been little to study in regards to pests, a stem rot problem has demonstrated itself for two years running now during the winter in the greenhouse. Initial fungal isolation studies have not provided for a good identification of the pathogen. Hopefully this upcoming winter will provide for more tenable results, although there are definitely sharp differences of susceptibility between cultivars to the pathogenic organism. See the section under the pests and diseases/stem rot menu for more on this.
Adult tissue culture is still being performed it is concentrated upon a single cultivar. Rooting of these plantlets is currently underway. UPDATE Fall 2011 - I have pulled from rooting/storage vessels Plumeria x stenopetala and am now culturing a small number of those plantlets. Although, as mentioned below, I am not doing tissue culture full time, I am still doing small batches just to see how the tissue progresses over the years.
2010 was the year that TC, except for some adult tissue, was not going to be done much in the lab and with very few little ones in the culture vessels in the grow hood. Apart from viewing how storage (how long do they store before giving up?, still watching some) is with the "mix", there is little work with the culture vessels from me, even though there are multiples which have rooted and there is upon the dark media many which are ready to be removed and placed ex-vitro. However, as the greenhouse pic below shows, there is no more room and I have learned about all I can with the current facilities. If you are just starting out remember to look at the pamphlet on Lulu.com, link further down in this page.
Plumeria x stenopetala - It would have been something to get these distributed out more than I have been able to and they now are showing how they deal with mites too. Fortunately the three which were moved outdoors were self-corrected while the remaining ones which were moved into the grow hood really were and are picked upon. Treated they may come out of it mite free but that is a long shot. Knowing that I don't have much room, everything extra is being "utilized" to see what happens to what. See Seed Tissue and the subgroup for this species for images of more mature ex vitro specimens most of which are now under the cold conditions of the greenhouse.
Sad note on the Costa Rican plumerias. All of them succumbed to the fungus which goes through the vascular system and hit not only them but P. rubra as well. Why the distinction in species? Perhaps they, the Costa Ricans, are a little bit different and the highland species which aren't giant at all, and which are more like those we all recognize as P. rubra, are closer in genotype to the hybrids we know and love than the giants. For the most part the hybrids suffer from the fungus but take a stand further down the stem, regrowing from that part. This is an area where my research is hopefully going to continue to grow and hopefully provide insight to others.
What is the dark media? An ingredient which is used in orchid culture works well for plumerias too and although I have worked with it before, it took another to mention it to me before I moved past my stubborn streak. Some rooted in the "mix", it just isn't as abundant.
Previous year - Although quiet, there has been some progress made during 2009. Check out the seed link under TC to see how P. x stenopetala continues. There are now 16 individuals ex-vitro and many more waiting to join them. Adult tissue too continues to show promise and now that there is enough "yellow" tissue up and growing, some comparisons can be made to ascertain whether a slight pH decrease does indeed help encourage abundant shoot proliferation. Sometimes, perhaps, "ideal" pH levels are in the eye of the beholder, and depending upon whether you want pretty plants or shoot proliferation, well... See adult images and the "not quite 50/50 mix" section to see what I'm talking about. The page also demonstrates how plumeria can be stored (needing no attention) for over a year with no problem.
As I have indicated to others, 2009 was my last year dedicated to more or less full-time tissue culture of plumeria. Although I do intend to continue to subculture some tissue, for the most part I am not going to be doing a great deal of tissue culture. I have been contacted by a few seeking advice and hope that whatever given has proven fruitful. I wish to express my gratitude to those who have contacted, especially those who have provided updates on how their progress has been and from the sounds of it, for certain areas of the world, this is really taking off, which is great! Although my forceps and scalpel will be mostly retired I most definitely will be available if help is needed.
This image, taken in December of 2009, demonstrates how the tissue culture plants are doing versus seed germinated from Costa Rica and other seed given to me by friends who were given that by others out of Australia. Although they are all P. rubra, they sure do show some differences and tolerances to environment. Those lined up on the left, mostly with still healthy leaves, are tissue culture plants. Those on the right which look like they are suffering are the ones from Costa Rica. The healthy ones mixed in there are the ones from Australia. Wild-type (Costa Rican giants) versus hybridized. The greenhouse, at canopy level for these guys, lowest temp 38 degrees Fahrenheit.
Black tip returned for yet another year of fun in 2009. Check out the mite pages to see how things went.
I've noticed that I've been mentioned as being an "Entomologist" by others in printed material. Please do understand all who read these materials that although I do study Acari, I am most definitely not qualified for that label. Acarology is what I am studying when I am concentrating upon the mites which continue to fascinate me but by all means I am NOT, other than hobby, a professional and with a degree in Entomology. I am a student of the field though, starting at the beginning of this decade and continue I am, following those things which intrigue me.
There are some interesting things to be learned from tissue culture scraps. If you have never picked up that scalpel beyond multiplication, check it out. Anthocyan producing cells. Red pigments which are similar to rubies. See TC Scraps if you are curious.
I've noticed that the six-spotted mite is one of the main draws to the site and for myself continues to be of interest and for study. In 2007 more things were learned in regards to them (see ongoing research) and 2008 did provide more background and information as to local secondary hosts of these mites and their method of transportation to potted plants. Now for the fun part of this research and why I still mention this stuff, I get to bike ride this upcoming season because these little beasties are all over the hills here, one just needs to know which plants to look upon. There's a tale of trails around here, Biking Ophir to find out what I'm talking about. Someone, somewhere, not sure. JAB.