Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Applications in Plant Sciences






e11496 (1-18)


Lewis Knudson first successfully germinated orchid seeds asymbiotically on artificial medium in 1922. While many orchid species have since been grown asymbiotically, the tremendous variation in how species respond to artificial medium and growth conditions ex situ has also become apparent in the past century. In this study, we reviewed published journal articles on asymbiotic orchid seed germination to provide a summary of techniques used and to evaluate if these differ between terrestrial and epiphytic species, to identify areas where additional research is needed, and to evaluate whether asymbiotic germination could be used more often in ex situ conservation. We found articles reporting successful asymbiotic germination of 270 species and 20 cultivars across Orchidaceae. Researchers often used different techniques with epiphytic versus terrestrial species, but species‐specific responses to growth media and conditions were common, indicating that individualized protocols will be necessary for most species. The widespread success in generating seedlings on artificial media suggests that asymbiotic techniques should be another tool for the conservation of rare orchid species. Further advances are needed in understanding how to introduce mycorrhizae to axenically grown orchids and to maximize the viability of seedlings reintroduced into natural habitats to fully utilize these methods for conservation.


© 2022 The Authors.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial 4.0 (CC BY-NC 4.0) License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.

Data Availability

Article states: "The full list of references used for data collection to support this review is available as supplemental information in Appendix S2."

Supporting information can be found in the online version of the article at:

Original Publication Citation

Jolman, D., Batalla, M. I., Hungerford, A., Norwood, P., Tait, N., & Wallace, L. E. (2022). The challenges of growing orchids from seeds for conservation: An assessment of asymbiotic techniques. Applications in Plant Sciences, 10(5), e11496.


0000-0003-3337-8766 (Jolman), 0000-0001-5430-7436 (Norwood), 0000-0001-6665-5454 (Wallace)