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Calypso bulbosa Orchid In Vitro:

A Journal of sorts...

These tiny Calypso flowers were quite a surprise! This rare photo shows two flowers on one stem.

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Welcome to my page for information on growing calypso bulbosa orchid seed in vitro. I make no claims on any success with the following technique because this is my first time flasking anything! All of this has been figured out through advice, research papers, emails, web searches, and observation of Calypso bulbosa in her native habitat. I will be adding text and photos including any failures and messes as I tackle this new project and learn to flask Calypso orchid seed. Follow the link on the left to my blog

"The CB Blog"

and find all that is fit to print and my diary of this project and my work with Lilium rubescen back to the beginning in 2005.



I would like to strongly recommend Aaron Hick's excellent manuals on growing orchids in vitro. Aaron runs the Orchid Seedbank Project and is a natural born teacher. He has been immeasurably helpful and patient with all of my questions and referred me to the right place for further leads. The page on his web site for Technical Information alone could take weeks to digest. Mostly I am following his plans for building a glovebox and buying glassware and supplies. I am relying heavily on his steps and technique to prepare and flask the seeds.



I am doing several trials of Calypso seed. I have selected BM-2 medium for terrestrial orchids from Phytotech Lab. They are a little short on advice and instruction but their BM-2 Terrestrial Orchid Medium using 10% to 20% coconut water for each liter of medium has had the best reported success germinating Calypso in vitro. I am also trying 2% coconut water per liter on the advice that coconut can have mutating effects and has become less popular for this reason. My next batch of canning jars for flasking next time will be 10% coconut plus charcoal.


There is a lab called Kelsey Creek Laboratories in Washington State, USA. I am working with the folks there to develop protocols for growing on the seedlings produced in their lab. That's right! You read it here! They have sent me some beautiful babies, just pushing the first leaf, that were grown in vitro. I have them planted in a mix of native soil, peat, vermiculite and a trace of bone meal. Two beautiful pearly seedlings in each four inch pot, closed in a ziploc for now.

Roger and Jane at Kelsey Creek would be delighted to arrange flasking of Calypso seed for you. Here is a link to their site. I can send your seed order directly to them and they will assess the seed and be in close contact with you. We have crossed some great hurdles in developing methods for growing Calypso. Producing healthy plants from in vitro grown seedlings of Calypso bulbosa is still a challenge. Here you are invited to join in the research. This lab can produce seedlings of Calypso but the growing on is not a guarantee, yet.

Kelsey Creek Labs


Below is a picture of my new glovebox. I made it from sheets of acrylic purchased from the hardware store. The sheets are sometimes called glass replacement. I was not set up to cut the four 1/4 inch thick, sheets so I used them as they came in 18"x18" squares to form four sides of a cube with lighter more cuttable acrylic and sheet vinyl for the two remaining sides. The sheet vinyl is the stuff that comes in rolls and is sometimes used in restaurants to cover the tablecloths. I cut two round holes for the gloves in the heavy clear vinyl and taped the gloves in with duct tape. I needed to cut slots in the tape to make it go in a circle but you could use small squares of tape and ease in the round shape of the gloves with overlapping patches. I also used the clear vinyl and duct tape to make the cuffs on the gloves longer. When the box was closed up the lighter plastic allowed me to compress the sides a little and I listened for air escaping and plugged the leaks with more duct tape. The edges of the thick acrylic were "Crazy" glued together using a board cut with two right angle slots to hold the sheets in place at a perfect 90 degree angle. The box came together slowly because I let the glue set up on each joint overnight and caulked the corners inside and out with silicone caulk. Here it is. The funny white legs are recycled plastic bottle caps to make the bottom slightly tilted so that the solutions would collect there away from my work area. I probably should have put the legs on the front, at first I did, but then things change...


My Flasks and the Pressure Cooker


This next photo shows twenty one 250 ml wide mouth canning jars nested in the pressure cooker. I try to give every step a "dry run" when possible and fitting the jars in the cooker was fun. I was able to calculate from this exercise just how much orchid medium it would be possible to prepare in order to make the best use of the cooker. But as it turned out I only prepared two 500ml batches so the cooker had ten jars for the first run. I am waiting five days to see if any contamination develops before sowing the seed. The next run of flasking will be with the BM-2 medium and will be at least twice as many jars. The BM-1 is an experiment for posterity but the BM-2 is a tried and true orchid medium for Calypso and I am relying on it to produce large quantities of Calypso protocorms for growing on and eventually for sale!


Closeup Photo of Gloves in Homemade Glovebox



Where would we be without duct tape!

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