Fast plants for finer science – an article from the Journal of Biological Education


An article from the Journal of Biological Education (1990) 24 (4)

Fast plants for finer science – an introduction to the biology of rapid-cycling Brassica campestris (rapa) L., Stephen P. Tomkins and Paul H. Williams


Rapid-cycling brassicas, originally developed for plant breeding research, promise to be of value in school and college teaching. Within the family Crucifrae, they are members of the same genus and species as the crop brassicas of great economic importance. The crop brassicas are briefly reviewed as they set the rapid-cycling plant cultivars in their context. The way in which the cultivars, with their five-week seed-to-seed cycle, were developed is described and an account of their developmental morphology given. The standardized methods for growing these fast plants on capillary matting under light banks is explained. Their insect pollination and a method of artificial pollination with beesticks are described and methods for circumventing the flowers’ self-incompatibility reviewed. Practical physiology and genetics exercises are listed to illustrate the plant’s potential value for teaching.

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