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Study the Ability of Plants to Reproduce Asexually by Vegetative Propagation (page 2)

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Author: Janice VanCleave

Design Your Own Experiment:

What parts of a plant can grow into an offspring? The following procedures allow you to determine the ability of plants to propagate from roots, stems, and leaves.

Asexual Reproduction

Display photographs of the different stages of development of the plants in each of the preceding experiments. Display the pictures along with data tables of daily growth measurements. Use the healthier plants as part of the project display.

  1. Grow plants from carrot tops (roots) by filling a shallow container with sand (see Figure 8.2). Thoroughly wet the sand with water and insert the cut end of the carrot tops into the wet sand. Place the container in a lighted area and keep the sand wet Observe the tops of the carrots for several weeks. Transfer them to a deeper container for further maturing of the plants. Check with a professional at a nursery for the best growing soil for carrots.
  2. Bulbs are plants with short, underground stems and thick fleshy leaves. The leaves store food for the growth of the plant Plant several bulbs, such as onions, tulips, daffodils, or lilies, in potting soil. After two weeks, make daily observations of one of the bulbs by removing and carefully brushing away the soil. Allow the other bulbs to continue growing undisturbed.
  3. Tubers, such as white potatoes, are plants with swollen, underground stems. The "eyes" on a potato are tuber buds from which a new plant will grow. Leave some potatoes in a closed cabinet for several weeks. Make daily observations of the eyes on the potatoes. Other ways to propagate plants from potatoes include the following:
    1. Cut the eyes from the potato and plant them in soil.
    2. Place four toothpicks around the center of a sweet potato and place the potato, pointed side down, into a jar of water (see Figure 8.3).
  4. Place a bryophyllum or jade plant leaf on the surface of potting soil. Keep the soil moist and observe the edges of the leaf.

Get the Facts

Asexual Reproduction

  1. All McIntosh apple trees are clones of an original tree found 150 years ago on the farm of John McIntosh in Ontario, Canada. This cloning has been accomplished by grafting. Find out more about the grafting of plants. What is a scion? Why is the stock often grown from seed? What are the advantages of grafting?
  2. Strawberries grow from runners. Runners are stems that grow horizontally rather than vertically. Find out more about this type of vegetative propagation. What are rhizomes? How does a stolon differ from a rhizome?
  3. Spores are small bodies containing a nucleus and a small amount of cytoplasm. Find out more about sporulation, the asexual production of spores. How do spores ensure survival of the plant during unfavorable environmental conditions? What type of plant produces spores?
  4. German biologist Theodor Boveri's experiments showed that hereditary is a result of the nuclear material called chromosomes. Through the continuous process of cell division called mitosis, the blueprint material in chromosomes is duplicated. Use a biology text to find out more about Boveri's experiment and about the process of mitosis. How many steps are in the process? What happens in each step?
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