Montane rain forests in Central and South America are threatened by human activities and climate change. Consequently, epiphytic plant genera such as Restrepia are also endangered, making their ex-situ conservation vital. For success, this conservation strategy requires affordable, efficient, and reliable protocols for axenic seed germination as well as protocorm and seedling development prior to establishment ex vitro. In our study, effects of four asymbiotic media (Murashige and Skooge, Phytotech P668, Vacin and Went, and Western) on seed germination and early protocorm development of Restrepia brachypus were compared. In addition, their effects with and without banana pulp were examined on in vitro seedling development. Western medium produced the highest mean germination rate (53%), the second highest mean protocorm diameter (325 µm) and, with banana, the largest mean seedling length (3.6 mm). These data provide a simple protocol using commercially available media that is suitable for ex-situ conservation of Restrepia. These media may also be of use for the micropropagation and conservation of other related orchid genera.
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Vol. 135 • No. 4