Pick up a botany textbook, and you may find one or two pages
devoted to asexual propagation, and hundreds of pages on sexual reproduction.
Most horticulture references, on the other hand, devote large
sections to asexual propagation, also referred to as "propagation from plant
parts." Why the difference?
To the scientist, asexual propagation is a minor topic.
Though it is not unusual in the plant world, it is generally not the primary method of
reproduction used by higher plants.
And asexual propagation involves simple mitotic
cell division. Sexual reproduction, on the other hand, relies on the much more interesting
meiotic cell division, as well as the subsequent production and union of gametes.
Genetically, asexual propagation is rather ho-hum too. Offspring are genetically identical
to the parent plant. Not much to study there!
Gardeners and horticulturists, however, know that asexual
propagation is the bestand in some cases, onlyway to propagate some of their
favorite plants, making it a very interesting and relevant subject indeed! And many of the
plants produced by the extensive breeding programs we talked about last week can only be
Well take the middle ground and look at asexual
propagation from the points of view of both the botanist and the gardener.
Well look at the structures involved, as well as the importance of asexual
propagation to plant populations in nature.
Well also survey some of the horticultural
techniques used for propagating plants. (We wont, however, get into detailed
"how-to" instructions. Well save that for another class!)