I haven't been on in a while, but I just thought I'd share what I've been working on for a little while.
I started an internship back in December with a professor that is friends with my family, and while I was doing that, I saw that a member here was giving away seeds. We were doing tissue culture in the lab at my internship, so I figured I might as well give it a shot.
It was a success (so far), and here are some pics from today. Just so ya know, they're from a Cymbidium hybrid.
The petri dishes with the seeds & a nutrient solution:
The little green balls are the protocorms, and the white flecks are seeds that did not germinate.
Some pics with a low powered microscope:
There is an ungerminated seed above the two protocorms for comparison.
Here's a pic taken with a camera-compatible microscope (edited with photoshop as the picture was washed out and dull):
In case you were wondering why I didn't just plant them in soil, it's because they would not be able to produce any food to grow. When the seeds come out of the pod, they are extremely small and thin with an underdeveloped embryo, as opposed to the fully developed embryos in say beans or acorns. In nature, this embryo would become infected with a symbiotic fungus species that is living near the roots of the parent plant. The fungus would then provide food for the developing embryo as it grows.
As it is difficult to get the specific fungus for the seeds in cultivation, you need to provide the seeds with some sort of nourishment. This is what the nutrient solution is for. This is just a simple mix of sucrose and other nutrients that we made, and that's mixed with agar to make a jelly-like substance.