Say hello to my little friends

It is my pleasure to introduce a new species to the Rieseberg lab: Alliaria petiolata (aka garlic mustard) is an invasive species in North America that is also widespread in Europe. Unfortunately we have had some problems with fungus and getting seeds to germinate, but we are moving forward.

So far our undergrad student Kevin and I have managed to successfully germinate about 50 seed families, but I’m aiming for about 200, so there is still a lot of work to do. Luckily, germination is the hard part as these plants grow fast! Here is a short time series of photos to demonstrate growth at:

~2 weeks after germination, shortly after being transplanted from a petri dish; ~1cm across

2 weeks post-transplant (~4 weeks post-germination); ~7 cm leaf width

3 weeks post-transplant; ~12cm leaf width

Germination (ARGH)
The published standard for this species is 3-5 months from stratification to germination. Obviously this is problematic for developing A. petiolata into a ‘model system’ to study invasions. I have managed to decrease this to about 2-4 weeks with physical scarification (fine-grit sandpaper) and Gibberellic Acid, but even this is not fast enough to avoid the fungus. Tatyana’s husband Peter has had some success preventing contamination by first washing the seeds with detergent, but I am not sure yet if it would be okay to do this after seeds have been physically scarified so I have also had our undergraduate student Kevin try a few chemical stratification protocols. I will post a note below once we work out a protocol that works. Any additional suggestions are welcome.

In the mean time, please feel free to stop in to the greenhouse and say ‘hello’.

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