Also found in: Wikipedia.
The deliberate, directed reproduction of plants using plant cells, tissues, or organs. Asexual propagation, also called vegetative propagation, is accomplished by taking cuttings, by grafting or budding, by layering, by division of plants, or by separation of specialized structures such as tubers, rhizomes, or bulbs. This method of propagation is used in agriculture, in scientific research, and in professional and recreational gardening. It has a number of advantages over seed propagation: it retains the genetic constitution of the plant type almost completely; it is faster than seed propagation; it may allow elimination of the nonfruiting, juvenile phase of the plant's life; it preserves unique, especially productive, or esthetically desirable plant forms; and it allows plants with roots well adapted for growth on poor soils to be combined with tops that produce superior fruits, nuts, or other products. See Breeding (plant), Reproduction (plant)
Tissue cultures and protoplast cultures are among the techniques that have been investigated for plant propagation; the success of a specific technique depends on a number of factors. Practical applications of such methods include the clonal propagation of desirable phenotypes and the commercial production of virus-free plants.
Plant tissue cultures are initiated by excising tissue containing nucleated cells and placing it on an enriched sterile culture medium. The response of a plant tissue to a culture medium depends on a number of factors: plant species, source of tissue, chronological age and physiological state of the tissue, ingredients of the culture medium, and physical culturing conditions, such as temperature, photoperiod, and aeration.
Though technically more demanding, successful culture of plant protoplasts involves the same basic principles as plant tissue culture. Empirical methods are used to determine detailed techniques for individual species; such factors as plant species, tissue source, age, culture medium, and physical culture conditions have to be considered. See Plant cell