Symbiotic Germination and Reintroduction of Spiranthes brevilabris Lindley, an Endangered Orchid Native to Florida



How to Cite

Stewart, S. L., Zettler, L. W., Minso, J., & Brown, P. M. (2003). Symbiotic Germination and Reintroduction of Spiranthes brevilabris Lindley, an Endangered Orchid Native to Florida. Selbyana, 24(1), 64–70. Retrieved from


Once distributed along the Coastal Plain from South Carolina to Texas, the short-lipped ladies'-tresses, Spiranthes brevilabris Lindley (Orchidaceae), appeared in 1999 to be restricted to a single population in Levy County, Florida. That population consisted of 152 plants. Ongoing efforts to locate additional populations of this terrestrial orchid have been unsuccessful. We provide 1) a technique to germinate seeds of this orchid in vitro using mycorrhizal fungi (symbiotic seed germination); 2) a technique to establish seedlings onto soil ex vitro; and 3) a description of the mycorrhizal fungi that prompted germination and establishment. Two fungal endophytes, both Epulorhiza spp. recovered from the roots of the epiphytic orchid Epidendrum magnoliae Muhl. (syn. E. conopseum) and S. brevilabris, were utilized in the inoculation of seed. Germination was rapid (< 10 days), and a higher percentage of seedlings developed leaves in vitro when inoculated with the S. brevilabris-derived fungus as opposed to the E. magnoliae-derived fungus (25% versus 20%). Of 165+ laboratory-grown seedlings transplanted onto soil at six sites in Florida, 100% survived > 1 month, and 17 initiated anthesis > 6 months. Hace algún tiempo se encontraba el short-lipped ladies'-tresses, Spiranthes brevilabris Lindley (Orchidaceae) a lo largo de la costa literal desde la Carolina del Sur a Texas, pero ahora parece que está restringido a una población que consistía en 152 plantas en 1999 en el condado de Levy en la Florida. Los esfuerzos continuos de localizar poblaciones adicionales de esta orquídea terrestre no han tenido éxito. Proveemos lo siguiente: 1) una técnica para germinar las semillas de esta orquídea in vitro, usando los hongos micorrizales (germinación simbiótica de semillas); 2) una técnica para establecer las plantas de semillero en el suelo ex vitro; y 3) una descripción de los hongos micorrizales que inducen la germinación y el establecimiento de las planta de semillero. Para inocular las semillas se utilizaron dos endófitas hongosos (Epulorhiza spp.) que se habían recuperado de los órganos raizosos del Epidendrum magnoliae Muhl. (syn. E. conopseum)—una orquídea epifítica—y el S. brevilabris. La germinación fue rápida (menos de 10 días), y un porcentaje más alto de plantas de semillero desarrollaron hojas in vitro cuando fueron inoculadas con los hongos derivados del S. brevilabris (25% versus 20%). De las 165 plantas de semillero cultivadas en laboratorio y trasplantadas en el suelo de seis localidades en la Florida, 100% sobrevivieron más de un mes, 17 iniciaron antesis despues de 6 meses.


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