By Tyler Slaton
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Camden County College biology students arranged and opened a month-long horticulture display in the Wolverton Library on April 3 in honor of Earth Day.
The horticulture display is exhibiting about 25 plants cultivated by Bio-225 students and Dr. Daniel Flisser. It consists of both flowering and tropical plants, including coleus, jade and aloe vera. The plants speak to the diversity of the project.
“These plants were chosen to represent a variety of sizes and forms,” said Flisser. “It mimics the natural world.”
The students are keeping the plants in rotation, based on the plants’ needs and stress levels, while they are on display. As plants begin to look dry or wilt, the students are returning them to the campus greenhouse and replacing them in the display. The display will remain in the library until the end of April.
Every plant on display was grown in the campus greenhouse. In class, the students learned about the various plant structures and the cultivation techniques best suited to each, which they then applied to their plants in the greenhouse.
“There are student-grown and teacher-grown plants on display,” said Rick Frey, a 29-year-old student involved with the display. “Student-grown plants are propagated from the teacher plants. They’re propagated vegetatively, which creates sister plants. They’re basically exact replicas of the teacher plants.”
Vegetative propagation is a form of asexual reproduction in plants.
Students began cultivating plants and working in the greenhouse at the beginning of the semester, while the teacher plants had been growing for years.
“The students have been working on the plants throughout the semester,” said Flisser. “But the larger ones, like the Norfolk Island pine, have been growing for four years. They’re our teacher plants.”
Flisser and his students wanted to promote an interest in science and the health benefits the plants can provide.
“The plants generally create pleasant conditions, as well as removing atmospheric toxins,” Flisser noted. Also, the presentation serves as a way of “displaying the work of the students and encouraging more plant science students to join the course.”
“It’s also a great way to advertise the greenhouse,” added Steve Morrone, another student who participated in the project.
Frey saw the display as an opportunity to educate his peers.
“If a student hasn’t encountered plants to this extent, they can learn a lot about the science behind them,” said Frey. “Take the class, even if it isn’t a requirement for you.”