Terrestrial orchids are generally regarded as one of the most vulnerable groups of higher plants, because they are difficult to grow from seed in the absence of mycorrhizal fungi. In vitro symbiotic seed germination often provides a reliable means to cultivate orchids from seed using naturally-occurring fungi, but its use in North America has been largely ignored. Mycorrhizal fungi should be included in propagation efforts to ensure that orchids persist in the natural setting. This paper summarizes the techniques associated with symbiotic seed germination (fungal isolation, identification and storage; seed collection and storage; seed pre-treatment, seed sowing and incubation; post-germination—in vitro to soil). It is anticipated that terrestrial orchid conservation will benefit from the techniques described herein.
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