Kalopanax pictus (Thunb.) Nakai is a tall tree, and its wood has been used in making furniture, while its stem bark is used for medicinal purposes. Here, we report on the micropropagation of Kalopanax pictus via somatic embryogenesis. Embryogenic callus was induced from immature zygotic embryos. The frequency of embryogenic callus induction is influenced by days of seed harvest. Callus formation was primarily observed along the radicle tips of zygotic embryos incubated on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium with 4.4 μM 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D). Somatic embryogenesis was observed following transfer of embryogenic callus to MS medium lacking 2,4-D. Somatic embryos at the cotyledonary stage were obtained after 6 wk following culture. Frequency of conversion of somatic embryos into plantlets was low (35%) on a hormone-free MS basal medium, but it increased to 61% when the medium was supplemented with 0.05% charcoal. Gibberellic acid (GA3) treatment markedly enhanced the germination frequency of embryos up to 83%. All plantlets obtained showed 98% survival on moist peat soil (TKS2) artificial soil matrix. About 30 000 Kalopanax pictus plants were propagated via somatic embryogenesis and grown to 3-yr-old plants. These results indicate that production of woody medicinal Kalopanax pictus plantlets through somatic embryogenesis can be practically applicable for propagation.
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