Orchid Seed and Pollen: A Toolkit for Long-Term Storage, Viability Assessment and Conservation

  • Philip T. Seaton
  • Silvério T. Hosomi
  • Ceci C. Custódio
  • Timothy R. Marks
  • Nelson B. Machado-Neto
  • Hugh W. Pritchard
Part of the Springer Protocols Handbooks book series (SPH)


The development of ex situ preservation techniques for seed and pollen provides a vital addition to orchid conservation using in situ and living collection approaches. The ability to both store and later efficiently distribute germplasm for reintroductions and maintenance of genetic diversity provides a powerful tool that can usefully operate beyond the confines of habitat loss and climate change. Currently a wealth of data and experience exists in both professional and amateur fields alike that requires effective global networking and sustainable resourcing to ensure that all practitioners of orchid conservation benefit. In this chapter we have summarised the current state of knowledge concerning the practice of both orchid seed and pollen storage, emphasising some of the problems that may be encountered. We also describe how current research shows that dry seeds, and potentially pollen, of many species have the capacity to survive in storage for a number of decades, if not longer, at low and cryogenic temperatures. Although within the plant kingdom orchid seeds may still be described as being short-lived, we highlight new techniques for storage and assessment of viability and germination that are continually being developed and applied more broadly to a wider range of species, to improve longevity and enhance measurement techniques. We emphasise throughout the need for more comparative data acquisition, information and interpretation of the variation in responses across the family, so as to help inform the global community of how best to handle orchid germplasm.

Key words

Seed banks Pollen Germination Longevity Tetrazolium test Desiccation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip T. Seaton
    • 1
  • Silvério T. Hosomi
    • 2
  • Ceci C. Custódio
    • 3
  • Timothy R. Marks
    • 1
  • Nelson B. Machado-Neto
    • 3
  • Hugh W. Pritchard
    • 1
  1. 1.Comparative Seed Biology, Comparative Plant and Fungal Biology, Royal Botanic Gardens KewArdinglyUK
  2. 2.College of Biological Sciences, Universidade do Oeste Paulista (UNOESTE), Rodovia Raposo TavaresPresidente PrudenteBrazil
  3. 3.Agronomy College, Universidade do Oeste Paulista (UNOESTE), Rodovia Raposa TavaresPresidente PrudenteBrazil

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