Eternal Propogation?

dapellegrini

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Another musing of mine... How many times can you clip and replant a trimming from a larger plant? Could I propagate by trimming eternally? If the mother plant was seed-grown, and say 1 year old, then would a trimming start with a biological clock at 1 year, or would it start over?

There must be a scientific study to this end...
 

VaughnH

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You could end up with the world's largest single plant - a cutting is still a portion of the same plant. Imagine, we trade stems of rotala rotundafolia all over the world, but all of those stems are portions of the same plant! Thus the world is conquered by a single plant, growing on every continent, in every nation, on every one's kitchen counter, all over the world! Pleasant dreams.
 

dapellegrini

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Well, if that is the case, wouldn't you eventually end up with a trimming that would shortly die, simply because the orginal plant has reached its end-of-life cycle?

In terms of value, the closer a trimming is to a seed-born plant, the greater its potential for longevity, right?

One more... Aren't there plants that propagate by runners? Are there fundamental differences in runners compared to trimmings? Is each runner truly a new plant?
 

Vladimir Zhurov

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Plants do not age in a sense animals do. It is not completely clear whether they age at all. Vegetative reproduction of plants (natural or artificial) is in a sense an eternal life. And there are individual plants which are thousands years old.

Yes, natural stresses, disease and mutations can eventually weaken progeny derived from vegetative reproduction and they might eventually die off. But there is an escape route for plants - sexual reproduction.

The fundamental difference between runners and trimmings is just that runners are a natural form of vegetative reproduction. Thou, there are plants which will for example drop leaves from wich new plants will sprout. Also it is easy to imagine "trimming" to occur naturally. It will not be obviously the main route of propagation, but it can happen.

Regards.

Vladimir.
 

dapellegrini

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So, in theory then you could propagate a plant via trimmings eternally?

Would it follow that a stem plant would never die of old age (regardless of trimmings), if kept in ideal conditions, whatever those may be for its species? Or are you saying that a trimming is a new plant in a similar way to actual sexual reproduction / meiosis and inessence hits the reset button getting a new lifespan from the parent plant? Even if the lifespan is 1,000's of years...
 

VaughnH

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Interesting question! As I understand the aging process, DNA is constantly being damaged by cosmic rays, by chemical pollution, etc. DNA has the ability to repair most such damage, but not all. Eventually the damage builds up so there are "errors" in the DNA, and new tissue isn't as good as the old tissue. (Being made of old tissue now, the subject is a bit personal for me!) So, logic tells me that plant DNA would follow this same path, and eventually the tip cuttings would not grow properly - too small leaves, missing microstructure in the leaves, etc. Am I correct?
 

Vladimir Zhurov

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dapellegrini;11766 said:
So, in theory then you could propagate a plant via trimmings eternally?

Yes.

dapellegrini;11766 said:
Would it follow that a stem plant would never die of old age (regardless of trimmings), if kept in ideal conditions, whatever those may be for its species? Or are you saying that a trimming is a new plant in a similar way to actual sexual reproduction / meiosis and inessence hits the reset button getting a new lifespan from the parent plant? Even if the lifespan is 1,000's of years...

It will probably never age. Thou I am not a plant biologist and the current state of affairs regarding plant aging can be quite elaborate. But there is no "reset" as there is no sexual reproduction involved. Plants you are getting from vegetative reproduction are in most cases clones (there are few cases when it is not true, when you deal with plants that are genetic mosaics).

Regards.

Vladimir.
 

Tom Barr

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There are clones from the same meristem out in the Midwest prarie grasses left over from the last ice age about 10,000 years old or so.

About 5 species of tree in CA get 2000-4900 years old.

The main thing that kills such plants, rot, fungi, pest, fire, toppling(redwood and sequoia's main enemy), ligthing(Bristlecone pine's main enemy), but not pre determined age..........

Regards,
Tom Barr