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Plant Focus

Quercus skinneri
Quercus skinneri is a Central American oak, distinguished by the large size of its fruit.

MHA Award to Fund Quercus arbutifolia Micropropagation Project

Shoot proliferation of Quercus arbutifolia on subculture media

A committee of past IOS Presidents has granted the Michael Heathcoat Amory Award to Dr. Qiansheng Li for his project “Micropropagation of the rare ring-cupped oak Quercus arbutifolia.” This rare oak, native to montane cloud forests of subtropical China and southern Vietnam, is currently listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List, and its endangered status may in fact be worse due to low acorn production. The main objective of Dr. Li’s proposal is to optimize the reproducible micropropagation protocol for mass multiplication of this species. Micropropagation has become a reliable and routine approach for large-scale rapid plant multiplication, and as such, the technique is of key importance for ex-situ conservation efforts.

The project will evaluate different tissue culture media and growth media for the different stages of the micropropagation process (shoot regeneration, shoot proliferation, rooting and acclimatization) and will aim to standardize the protocols and procedures involved.

This award is in memory of Michael Heathcoat Amory (1941-2016), renowned oak collector, creator of the collection at Chevithorne Barton, and longtime supporter of the International Oak Society.  

Seedling of Q. arbutifolia that is used as mother plant...  ...and in vitro buds regenerated on stem segments 

The funds for the award were raised in a collection taken at Michael’s memorial service and presented to the IOS for this purpose by his widow. Dr. Li will present the results of the project during the 9th International Oak Conference at UC Davis, Cali-fornia, in October 2018.

For more information about Quercus arbutifolia see the Proceedings for the 8th IOS Conference (International Oaks No. 27, pp. 171-180).

All photos © Qiangsheng Li