Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



Little bluestem, Schizachyrium scomarium (Michx) Nash, a warm-season perennial native grass, is widely distributed over the temperate portion of North America (Hitchcock, 1971), extending from Quebec to Alberta and Southward to Florida and Arizona. It is a major upland component of the tall and mixed grass prairies and furnishes substantial amounts of palatable forage throughout the summer. Little bluestem has also been used for soil conservation purposes and its reseeding characteristic makes it especially useful in range and conservation plantings. Although the plant can be propagated vegetatively by dividing crowns, due to its bunch-type growth, the conventional way of propagation as such is not efficient. In the previous research conducted in this laboratory, segments of young inflorescences of some forage grass species were explanted onto a modified MS medium supplemented with 2, $-D and initiated calluses. After subcultured on the basal medium with auxin removed, the calluses differentiated into numerous somaclone plantlets (Chen, Stenberg and Ross, 1977; Chen, Lo and Ross, 1979; Lo, Chen and Ross, 1980). Such methods of rapid cloning would considerably shorten a breeding program. Another aspect of grass tissue culture research is focused on induction of mutations. Since most forage grass plants are heterozygous due to natural cross-fertilization and self-incompatability, desirable recessive characteristics are likely masked by the dominant genes. Induction of recessive mutations from the allelic dominant genes would uncover the desirable traits. Mutation treatment cells in vitro followed by induction of plant regeneration from these cells would be more accurate in obtaining homozygous recessive plants. However, plant regeneration in callus embryos, which are of single cell origin and genetically homogenous, or the development of shoots, which according to Wang and Vasil (1982), might be reorganized by many existing cells in the callus tissue. In the latter case, genetical heterogeneity, which would be obstructive to in vitro mutation studies, would result. In this research, the method previously used in cloning of forage grasses in this laboratory was applied to culture little bluestem. The calluses grown on the morphogenetic medium were histologically investigated to determine the pattern of differentiation.

Library of Congress Subject Headings


Plant tissue culture

Regeneration (Botany)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University