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A quick, dramatically unofficial study on Habenaria tuber size

Discussion in 'Orchid Culture' started by RustyExotics, Oct 23, 2019.

  1. RustyExotics

    RustyExotics Nicholas - It's a terrestrial thing

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    This year, I decided that I would do a mini study on the effect of flowering on tuber size and production of Habenaria, specifically Habenaria erichmichelii for the sole reason of having way too many tubers of this plant. Overall, this study is far too "poorly conducted" to show any real data, but I just wanted to try it out this year in order to see any possible correlation that flowering had on the size and quantity of tubers produced during the growing season. I plan on redoing this experiment in the future with significant more control and equality between the sample groups.

    In short: I predicted that allowing the Habenaria erichmichelii to flower would negatively effect the size and/or quantity of tubers produced during the growing season. My reasoning for this is very simple: flowers take a lot of energy, therefore preventing a plant from flowering would force it to reproduce asexually (producing more tubers) and/or may cause the tubers produced during the growing season to grow larger with the influx of energy due to lack of flowering. This seems downright obvious, but I wanted to focus more on the quantitative effects that flowering had on tuber size as opposed to a qualitative "does flowering effect tuber size?"

    This is where the experiment turns drastically inconclusive due to differences within the sample group... Each plant was given similar watering and was fertilized with the same fertilizer on the same day. However, the sample sizes (not allowed to flower vs allowed to flower) were unequal (5 flowering size tubers vs. 10 flowering size tubers). This isn't necessarily a huge problem since my data is expressed as a percentage, but for the most accuracy, I should have had equal sample sizes. Furthermore, neither the quantity of water nor fertilizer was specifically measured, providing possible indifference between the nutrient and/or water intake of each plant. Again, this wasn't massively problematic since each were grown in identical culture (humidity, light, temperature, etc.) and were kept wet all year, meaning the only limitation of water would be restricted to the amount of water each individual plant was capable of absorbing. As for the fertilizer... it may or may not have been completely, equally distributed to the two pots, which may have caused problems. Regardless, I wanted to see what the data said.


    Non-Flowering plants (5 tubers) - flower spikes were cut off as soon as they started to emerge. There was a 140% (5 --> 12) increase in the number of tubers after going dormant. Out of the 12 tubers, 83.33% of them were over 6.0 cm long. Out of the tubers greater than 6.0 cm long (10 total), 20.00% were between 6.0-6.9 cm, 30% were between 7.0-7.9 cm, and 50.00% were 8.0+ cm long.

    Flowering plants (10 tubers) - plants were permitted to flower, but any spontaneous seed pods were removed. There was a 130% (10 --> 23) increase in the number of tubers, which is not very significant. Out of the 23 tubers, 60.87% were over 6.0 cm long. Out of the 14 tubers that were over 6.0 cm, 28.57% were 6.0-6.9 cm, 35.71% were between 7.0-7.9 cm, and 35.71% were 8.0+ cm long.

    The results of this drastically unofficial experiment are interesting. Both pots produced a similar increase in the tubers produced. However, the pot that was not permitted to flower showed a larger amount of plants over 8.0 cm long (14.29% more). Also, the pot that was allowed to flower appeared to showed a more equal distribution between the 3 size categories while the pot that did not flower seemed to favor the larger sizes. I would go into statistical data, but I prefer to wait on this due to the large difference in sample sizes, therefore, this is overall inconclusive, yet is still interesting. I plan on conducting a more thorough, careful experiment next year.

    Raven, Foozil, rico and 1 other person like this.
  2. xmpraedicta

    xmpraedicta Prairie angraecoid nut Supporting Member

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    Saskatoon, SK
    Very interesting. Thank you for sharing your results!
    RustyExotics likes this.
  3. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Santa Rosa, CA
    A tip of the hat to you for doing this and sharing it with us.
    RustyExotics likes this.
  4. Bernard McDonald

    Bernard McDonald Active Member

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    Love this article and the way you set out your experiment together with your results. Thanks for sharing.
    RustyExotics likes this.