Germination is Possible: an update from the JTGP CLM team

Happy late October from Southern Nevada. The JTGP team is basking in balmy fall weather here and working away in the USGS greenhouse, pampering our Joshua trees. You read right: pampering. Who would have thought these magnificent plants of the Mojave would be so fussy!

You see, it turns out that some of the seeds are quite particular and have decided to fight germination with stark determination. Tucking them into nice damp soil, regulating their day and night temperature in the greenhouse, and diligently watering them makes not a difference.

They simply weren’t having it.

But, little did they know, the same thing could be said for us: we were not having their complete lack of germination.

So, we decided to treat these most persnickety seeds like the royalty that they are: laying them out on a damp filter paper in a Petri dish and setting them in a temperature regulated growth chamber to imbibe in warm darkness. We visited them twice daily to alter the chambers day-time and night-time temperatures, gently cleaned them if mold popped up, kept each filter paper nice and damp, and crossed our fingers.

And what do you know-it was just what they preferred! In no time we had lots of happy germinates.

Petri dishes chock full and ready to roll 🙂

Now, every day more and more germinates appear in the Petri dishes and we scramble to transplant them into their respective plant bands (tall, bottomless cardboard ‘pots’ that allow the Joshua tree’s roots to grow long). And our success hasn’t stopped there. These Joshua trees are (finally) pleased enough to send up bright green hypocotyls and cotyledons. Up next are primary leaves and more, each plant growing as much as possible before its final transplant into the Common Garden sites at the end of the year!

And now we know: despite initial struggles, germination is indeed possible. So grow on Joshua trees, grow on.

This germinate was a crazy surprise-check out the TWO radicles emerging! When your dealing with 3,000 seeds your bound to see some interesting growth patterns.