germinating fresh pollen

John Hewitson john_hewitson at
Fri Feb 28 02:40:28 EST 2003

"David Fisher" wrote on 27/2/03 3:47 am

>Does anyone have a good protocol for making live pollen germinate for a
>general botany lab exercise?  The usual procedure, using Impatiens,
>rarely works.  Any secrets, anyone? David Fisher, PhD

There is a protocol on the Science and Plants website which often gives 
good results and many teachers in UK swear by it at:-

It contains a link:-

to a very simple technique growing pollen on onion epidermis which I 
found to work as well as the SAPS protocol with 12 year old pupils (and 
that's a REAL test of any technique!)  This same website contains a bank 
of relevant photographs.

The SAPS protocol also includes a reference to a paper where the author 
surveyed the success he had with different species at different times of 
the year (with a link to a .pdf copy on the SAPS website).

I'd be interested to know of other's experiences.


Dr. John Hewitson
Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS)
Homerton College
Cambridge CB2 2PH  UK
email: hom-saps at
Tel: +44 (0)1223 507168
Fax: +44 (0)1223 215004
web site:


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