Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



The spider plant, Chlorophytum elatum R. Br., a member of the family Liliaceae, is a native of South Africa. It has been propagated almost exclusively by vegetative means and it is now grown widely over the world as an ornamental plant. Many studies by other workers have revealed that with only two exceptions all species in the genus Chlorophytum have somatic chromosome numbers that are multiples of seven, ranging from 14 to 56 (c.f. Darlington and Wiley, 1955). Although the chromosome number of Chlorophytum elatum has ·been reported to be 2N = 28 (Sato, 1942; Baldwin and Speese, 1951) information regarding its karyotype is not complete and meiotic behavior is still lacking. Storey (1968), after studying the mitotic phenomenon in roottip cells, suggested that this species might be an autotetraploid with a basic number X = 7. However, he failed to study the meiotic chromosomes which would be essential in order to verify his assumption. The clone of Chlorophytum elatum, which has been maintained in the Botany Greenhouse, was noted to show some degree of sterility. Preliminary observations of the pollen indicated that about 25 percent of the grains were non-stainable and irregular in shape. This implied that either a change in chromosome number or an alteration of chromosome structure might occur in this particular clone such as was observed in other genera by Carnahan and Hill (1962); Dhaliwal, Pollard, and Lorz (1962); Doughty (1936); Honma (1968); Kreft (1968); Sutton (1937); Thomas (1960); Upcott and Lacour (1936); Upcott (1937); and Whitaker (1935). This study was undertaken to ascertain the karyotype of Chlorophytum elatum and to study the meiotic chromosome behavior. A karyotypic analysis supported by a study of the behavior of chromosomes during diakinesis and/or metaphase I was made to determine the ploidy of this clone. The study of the meiotic chromosome behavior at later stages of meiosis along with a karyotypic analysis was made to find an explanation for the clone's sterility.

Library of Congress Subject Headings


Chlorophytum capense



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University