Saturday November 18th, 2017, the Montserrat National Trust hosted a training on how to propagate orchids by seeds.
Nicolas Tirard, project manager at the Trust and who organized this workshop as part of the EU funded project “A nursery for endemics and key native species”, presented to the participants the orchid family and gave brief overview of different methods of orchid propagation; from clump division to the dry pod technique to finally focus on the green pod technique.
The training lasted all afternoon and participants were able to watch Anthony Tangkai, an expert in orchid propagation from Trinidad, do the demonstration. Also, some participants had the opportunity to practice. First, they practiced the extraction of the pollen (inside the pollinies) from the male parent and then needed to locate the stigma of the female parent to do the pollination. Anthony Tangkai demonstrated how to sow the seeds in a sterile environment.
What is the purpose of this training?
Through the project announced previously, the Montserrat National Trust is looking for a way to preserve the existence and to maintain a reasonable population of native and endemic species. The Trust is building a micro-propagation unit, at its premises, to be able to propagate first the endangered and endemic Montserrat orchid. The Montserrat orchid (Epidendrum Montserratense) is an orchid species unique to Montserrat which has been however wiped out by volcano eruption and by the destruction of its habitats. Secondly, to encourage the general public to restore a good level of population of this orchid the Trust is making this unit available and accessible to general public. Indeed, the public can practice orchid micro-propagation and cross breeding of their own orchids at the Trust by using the unit and its equipment.
A batch of propagation of the Montserrat orchid using the micro-propagation unit would be done in February. The unit would be accessible to the public from March on request.
© Photos: Ravo R.