Indirect somatic embryogenesis, encapsulation, and plant regeneration was achieved with the rare rhoeophytic woody medicinal plant Rotula aquatica Lour. (Boraginaceae). Friable callus developed from leaf and internode explants on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium with 0.45 μM 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) was most effective for the induction of somatic embryos. Subculture of the callus onto half-strength MS medium with the same concentration of 2,4-D resulted in highly embryogenic callus. Suspension culture was superior to solid medium culture for somatic embryogenesis. Embryogenic callus during subsequent transfer to suspension cultures of half-strength MS medium having 0.23 μM 2,4-D induced the highest number of somatic embryos (a mean of 25.6 embryos per 100 mg callus) and the embryos were grown up to the torpedo stage. Transfer of embryos to half-strength MS basal solid medium allowed development of 50% of the embryos to the cotyledonary stage. Of the cotyledonary embryos, 90% underwent conversion to plantlets on the same medium. Encapsulated cotyledonary embryos exhibited 100% conversion to plantlets. Ninety-five percent of the plantlets established in field conditions survived, and were morphologically identical to the mother plant.
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Vol. 41 • No. 1