In situ seed baiting to isolate germination-enhancing fungi for an epiphytic orchid, Dendrobium aphyllum (Orchidaceae)

Xiao Meng Zi, Chun Ling Sheng, Uromi Manage Goodale, Shi Cheng Shao, Jiang Yun Gao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


Orchid conservation efforts, using seeds and species-specific fungi that support seed germination, require the isolation, identification, and germination enhancement testing of symbiotic fungi. However, few studies have focused on developing such techniques for the epiphytes that constitute the majority of orchids. In this study, conducted in Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Yunnan, China, we used seeds of Dendrobium aphyllum, a locally endangered and medicinally valuable epiphytic orchid, to attract germination promoting fungi. Of the two fungi isolated from seed baiting, Tulasnella spp. and Trichoderma spp., Tulasnella, enhanced seed germination by 13.6 %, protocorm formation by 85.7 %, and seedling development by 45.2 % (all P < 0.0001). Epulorhiza, another seed germination promoting fungi isolated from Cymbidium mannii, also enhanced seed germination (6.5 %; P < 0.05) and protocorm formation (20.3 %; P < 0.0001), but Trichoderma suppressed seed germination by 26.4 % (P < 0.0001). Tulasnella was the only treatment that produced seedlings. Light increased seed imbibition, protocorm formation, and two-leaved seed development of Tulasnella inoculated seeds (P < 0.0001). Because the germination stage success was not dependent on fungi, we recommend that Tulasnella be introduced for facilitating D. aphyllum seed germination at the protocorm formation stage and that light be provided for increasing germination as well as further seedling development. Our findings suggest that in situ seed baiting can be used to isolate seed germination-enhancing fungi for the development of seedling production for conservation and reintroduction efforts of epiphytic orchids such as D. aphyllum.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Dendrobium aphyllum
  • Orchid conservation
  • Seed baiting
  • Symbiotic germination
  • Tulasnella


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