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Plants without chlorophyll

David R. Hershey dh321 at PGSTUMAIL.PG.CC.MD.US
Sat Dec 16 17:52:04 EST 1995

This is in response to a 20 June 1995 question about how to keep an albino
Clivia seedling alive. 

In a 1942 paper by H.A. Spoehr in Plant Physiology 17:397-410 titled "The
culture of albino maize", albino corn seedlings were grown by cutting the
leaves and dipping the cut ends in small vials of sucrose (table sugar). I
believe the concentration was 0.3 molar. He had to continually recut the
leaves, because they healed over. The glass shell vials were positioned at
odd angles by twisting coat hanger wire around them to hold them in place.
The plants survived long enough to produce stunted ears. The 1955 text,
Botany: Principles and Problems by Sinnott and Wilson, has a Life magazine
photo of Spoehr and his albino corn. 

Albino corn grains are still a popular item in biological teaching supply
catalogs, like Carolina Biological. I guess other monocots, like Clivia,
might also be cultured by this technique. The advantage of corn is that it
has a large amount of stored nutrients in its grain to get it off to a
good start. 

David R. Hershey
Snail mail: 6700 Belcrest Road #112, Hyattsville, MD 20782-1398

Adjunct Professor, Biology/Horticulture Department 
Prince George's Community College, Largo, MD 20772-2199

Email: dh321 at pgstumail.pg.cc.md.us

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