Mycorrhizal inoculum for propagation of Epacris impressa Labill. (Common Heath) – Publication

Abstract of a publication based on research funded in part by the Australian Flora Foundation

M.R. Conomikes1., C.B. McLean1., M.C. Starrett2., A.C. Lawrie3.
1.University of Melbourne, Institute of Land and Food Resources, Dept. of Resource Management and
Horticulture, Burnley College, 500 Yarra Blvd, Richmond Vic 3121 Australia,
2.University of Vermont, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Dept. of Plant and Soil Science,
Burlington, Vermont, USA.
3.RMIT University, Dept. of Biotechnology and Environmental Biology, Bundoora Victoria, Australia

International Plant Propagators’ Society Combined Proceedings, Milltown, N.J. (2002) 52:151-155

Members of the Epacridaceae are traditionally difficult to propagate and are in decline in parts of Australia. Infection by Phytophthora cinnamomi has led to some species of Epacridaceae in Western
Australia being listed as endangered. Seed is nearly impossible to germinate and cuttings often have a strike rate as low as 10%. Previous studies have demonstrated that introduction of soil collected from beneath adult plants improved the health and survival of cuttings of several epacrid species. In this study cuttings were grown in 100% potting mix, potting mix containing mycorrhizal inoculum, or potting mix containing soil from beneath adult plants collected in the wild. Plants were grown under glasshouse conditions for 20 weeks and monitored for health and development before harvesting. Strike rate and mycorrhizal status were then determined. Statistical analysis of results indicated no significant difference between treatments and no mycorrhizas present in the roots of any cutting in any treatment.