Propagation of Two Native Shrubs, Rhamnus alnifolia and Rhamnus lanceolata

in HortScience
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  • 1 Univ. of Florida, Environmental Horticulture, Quincy, FL 32303
  • | 2 Iowa State Univ., Horticulture, Ames, IA 50011

Rhamnus alnifolia and Rhamnus lanceolata are shrubs of modest size with lustrous foliage. We evaluated seed germination of both species and propagated R. alnifolia by using softwood cuttings collected in early June. For R. alnifolia, cold stratification for up to 90 d resulted in 48% germination and a germination value of 1.9, whereas only 7% germination occurred among seeds stratified for 120 d. Seeds of R. alnifolia did not germinate if they were untreated or if scarified and stratified. Rhamnus lanceolata required 120 d of stratification to germinate, but percentages were low (≤ 5). Survival of germinants of both species was 90 to 100% regardless of prior seed treatment. Seedlings grew uniformly and had a mean leaf count of 11 and a mean height of 20 cm after 102 d. Application of 3000 and 8000 mg/L indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) in talc led to 85% rooting of R. alnifolia, whereas rooting was ≤ 15% after use of solutions with those IBA concentrations. While 75% of untreated cuttings rooted, fewer roots formed without IBA. More roots developed in 100% vermiculite than in 1 vermiculite: 1 perlite (by volume), which also diminished the number and apparent health of leaves on cuttings during the rooting period. We conclude that talc-based IBA and vermiculite should be used to root softwood cuttings of R. alnifolia, and that both species can be propagated from stratified seeds. Rhamnus lanceolata is more recalcitrant than is R. alnifolia and merits further study to optimize germination success.