Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.
Did you know that a lot of plants these days are cloned? The cloning of plants is very common. In fact, it's so common that some plants clone themselves naturally without any help from us. The spider plant, for example, does this naturally. Once it becomes an adult, it begins to produce identical babies.
To clone a plant means to create an identical copy of an adult plant. These identical copies become young plants that in turn become adult plants that can be cloned again. This process can go on indefinitely.
The most common method of cloning plants and the one that has been used for a very long time is that of taking cuttings from an adult plant. A cutting is a stem or leaf that is cut from an adult plant. The cutting is then planted into moist soil or another moist growing medium. The cutting will produce roots of its own and then become a whole new plant identical to the original adult plant. Not all plants can be cloned via cuttings, though.
Another method of cloning plants is grafting. A graft is a branch of one tree fused onto the trunk or root stock of another tree. Many fruit trees sold commercially are grafted.
Many times, farmers graft fruit trees such as apples trees to the root stock of a local tree. They do this because the local tree has a stronger root system that can survive the local weather, whereas the apple tree by itself may not survive. To graft the apple branch, the farmer makes a cut into the trunk of the base tree and then sticks the apple branch in it. Sometimes, a nail is put into place to keep the grafted branch in place.
After grafting, the root stock tree provides the grafted tree with water and nutrition, while the grafted tree ends up growing and giving fruit. You can actually graft several different trees onto one root. This is how you get those trees that give you several different kinds of apples on one tree.
Some plants that can't be cloned via cuttings can be cloned via layering. Layering involves taking the stem of an adult plant and wrapping it in soil or other rooting medium while it's still attached to the parent plant. Sometimes, the gardener will make a small cut in the stem, put rooting powder on it, and then wrap it up with a moist growing medium. After roots begin to form, this stem is then cut from the adult plant and it becomes a whole new plant identical to the original.
Some plants naturally clone themselves via layering. Strawberries, for example, will send out runners that, when layered, will root and turn into new clones of the original strawberry plant.
Lastly, as science gets ever more advanced, plants can now also be cloned in a laboratory via a process called tissue culture. This process involves taking some plant tissue from an adult plant and culturing it in a laboratory to create more plants. It's like growing plants in test tubes.
Micropropagation is a form of tissue culture that greatly multiplies the number of copies of the plant that can be produced and shortens the time of production. Tissue culture is the most expensive plant cloning method as a sterile laboratory environment is required. It's becoming more common, though. One garden center plant that is propagated through tissue culture is the Hosta. Advantages to tissue culture include being able to produce plants that are hard to propagate otherwise and fast production using micropropagation.
To clone means to make an identical copy of an original. People clone plants all the time, and some plants even produce clones themselves. In this lesson, you learned several different methods of cloning plants.
A cutting is a stem or leaf that is cut from an adult plant. The cutting is then planted into moist soil or another most growing medium. A graft is a branch of one tree fused onto the trunk or rootstock of another tree. Many fruit trees sold commercially, such as apple trees, are grafted.
Layering involves taking the stem of an adult plant and wrapping it in soil or another rooting medium while it's still attached to the parent plant. Some plants, such as strawberry plants, naturally clone themselves via layering. Tissue culture is a process that involves taking some plant tissue from an adult plant and culturing it in a laboratory to create more plants. This is the most expensive method of plant cloning. Micropropagation is a form of tissue culture that greatly multiplies the number of copies of the plant that can be produced and shortens the time of production.
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