This is the first report on somatic embryogenesis in common ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.). Experiments on somatic embryogenesis induction were carried out on zygotic embryos at different phases of development and maturation. The embryo axes were isolated and cultured on media containing different plant growth regulators (PGRs). Embryogenic tissues were obtained from embryos collected at an incomplete maturation phase and cultured on a modified Murashige and Skoog medium containing 8.8 μM 2, 4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and 4.4 μM benzyl-adenine (BA). Embryos isolated from seeds at an advanced stage of maturation showed only organogenetic phenomena. Embryogenic tissues were successfully subcultured and multiplied on medium containing a reduced concentration of PGRs. After their isolation, somatic embryos were induced to develop and mature by transfer to PGR-free medium and subsequent culture on medium containing 0.1 μM BA. Somatic embryos developed completely and also germinated spontaneously. Embryo germination and conversion were significantly improved when subjected to a period of storage at 4°C and transplant onto woody plant medium. Plantlets were successfully transferred to soil and acclimatized in a “misted” greenhouse.
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Vol. 43 • No. 2