Alexandrian laurel (Danae Racemosa L.) is an evergreen shrub in high demand. But meeting that demand isn’t easy: The seed germination of Alexandrian laurel often takes up to 12 to 18 months with a germination rate of only about 20 percent. Due to its slow-growth rate, it can take six years to produce a saleable one-gallon size plant.

Dr. Guochen Yang and research technician Lu (Cindy) Zhongge in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design have found that germinating seeds in the presence of cytokinins and/or auxins increased in vitro shoot multiplication and seedling quality in the shrub. The application of the cytokine Benzyladenine was found to balance seedling development by accelerating shoot growth and slowing root growth, whereas another cytokine, Thidiazuron, significantly promoted shoot multiplication and proliferation by producing 5-30 shoots per seed.

This research and the resulting patent will help ensure a more plentiful and reliable source of Alexandrian laurel in the agricultural marketplace, particularly in the landscape and nursery industries.