In Vitro Propagation of Café Marron (Ramosmania rodriguesii, Rubiaceae)
Café Marron (Ramosmania rodriguesii), a member of the coffee family (Rubiaceae), is one of world's rarest plants. It is endemic to the island of Rodrigues in Mauritius where only one tree remains in the wild. It is propagated through stem cuttings because none of the plants produce fruits. Propagation of plants in culture is difficult because of the endophytic contamination present in the plants in the Kew collection. Fruits were produced from plant growth regulator treated plants and one of the project aims is to standardise the conditions needed to produce fruits during the peak flowering season. This will enable us to propagate the seeds both in vitro and in vivo and bank the seeds in MSBP, Wakehurst Place. Since the plants are clones, the objective of the project is to develop autopolyploids to establish diversity in this critically endangered tree species. Plants will be treated in vitro with spindle-inhibiting chemicals to produce polyploids in culture. Treated plants will be screened for their DNA levels and the selected autopolyploids will be propagated and grown under glasshouse conditions for further breeding. Over the next three years the project aims to raise a collection of seed-derived progenies in vitro and develop a new generation of genetically diverse plants.
Project Partners and Collaborators
Republic of Mauritius
National Parks and Conservation Service