By Konstantin Samis'ko
My name is Konstantin Samis'ko, I live in Beketovo village, Crimea, Ukraine. Cacti are my hobby for more than 10 years.
One year ago I decided to make a little experiment. I put seedlings germinated in the winter of 2001-2002 to the shocks of different nature.
As the subject for experiments I chose Astrophytum myriostigma, Setiechinopsis mirabilis and Mammillaria lanata. The most sensitive were Astrophytums (photo 3-8). To the contrary Mammillarias essentially didn't react.
The shocks over seedlings were:
- electrical discharge (piezoelectric lighter);
- exposure to photo flashes from the distance of 1-2 cm;
- low temperature (3-5 minutes in a freezer).
The first shock was made about 1 week after germination. First I joined one plate of the lighter to a wire and put the end of the wire into the soil. Then I placed other plate 2-3 mm over seedling, made 3-4 shots (discharges) and moved to other seedling. Consequently I treated all seedlings. Immediately after that I exposed the whole dish with seedlings to the impact photoflash 10 times. Finally I put seedlings into a freezer. Altogether there were four treatments one week apart.
Strangely there were almost no deaths neither slowing down in growth during the experiment. After 4th treatment the results showed up – many seedlings of Astrophytum looked very unusually.
It was unusual that there was no meristem. Ribs and areoles also were indistinguishable. After grafting on Pereiskiopsis they started to grow quickly. The most of them became normal, some (both grafted and on own roots) formed up to 4 heads (photo 3-5).
Some grafted specimens were covered by small plantlets like cloning callous tissue (photo 6-7).
One plant formed big knobs on the ribs (photo 8).
Seedlings of Setiechinopsis reacted only after few months. The reaction was a polytomy – some of seedlings had up to 4 heads. Mammillarias just formed side shoots what is uncharacteristic for this species and age (5 specimens out of almost 200 seedlings).
Unfortunately I didn't make detailed notes and didn't divide seedlings into different groups per kinds of treatments plus control group. So the results of experiment should be considered preliminary.