I am looking for a home made media for my students to grown fern spores in. I have petri dishes and a local fern patch.
I read a book that had the answer but it is so long agao I cant remember it or the name of the book.
you can use a wide range of media, we use peat, sand or even gravel here to cultivate on a large scale. Check out the link at the bottom for more information. Good steralisation is the key to spore propogation.
All the Best
Here is a link that might be useful: Forest Ferns Propogation
It says to pour boiling water on regular potting media [or rocks as you said] so that would seem to be saying that there is not much nutient derived by the spore developing into the prothalus. Is that correct?
I have an little microscope for them to see the spores and watch the development but it would be easier to observe on clear gelatin. I read up on Agar last night and I am wondering if plain old gelatin would harm the spores.
Also does any one here know how long it takes for the spore to "pop" and grow into prothalus?
Im pretty good but I don't think I can hold their attention for 9 -12 months!
One last thing.
We made Biospheres a few years ago [still going strong!] and that really got alot of interest going.
Has anyone ever seeded a Biosphere with spores?
Thanks for your time.
A couple things worth mentioning...
My preferred fern spore medium so far is a potting mix called "Metro-Mix 360". It's fairly sterile already, so further sterilization isn't really necessary.
Agar's good for a few species, but there's a lot of stuff that just won't grow well on it. The things I know do well on it are the climbing ferns (genus Lygodium) and Ceratopteris. The things I know don't do well on it are all the members of Pteridaceae that I've tried. With regards to jello, the main reason I can think of not to use it is that it has a low melting temperature, just above room temperature; stick it under fluorescent lights with spores on it for a few weeks and I figure you've got 50/50 odds at best of getting happy little gametophytes growing on gelatin rather than just a puddle with half-germinated spores floating around in it. Rather than the lab-grade expensive agar, you can also get food-grade agar at some oriental food places and so forth for much cheaper.
How long they take varies greatly with species and conditions. Under banks of fluorescent lights on agar, you can get Lygodium to go from spore to sporophyte in a couple weeks less than a semester. On a north-facing windowsill in Metro-Mix I got some Wright's cliffbrake (Pellaea wrightiana) to go from spore to sporophyte in a couple of weeks. Generally, for good development you want bright indirect light and temps in the low-mid 70's. Lower temperatures might not be a problem, but I know that either high temperatures or direct sunlight (which presumably causes high temps) cause major problems.