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Platycerium ridleyii propagation [Image intensive]

#1 User is offline   WetFinger 

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 07:22 PM

Hi all,
As promised, here's what my itchy fingers have been up to. Although I've tried spore germination in the past, most of the trials either go moldy or there's nothing after months have passed. Happy to say, of course, that the current trial is more happening but far from being considered successful since none are ready for permanent display. Still, if I could, I would like very much to line my entire corridor with ridleyiis.

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Disclaimer: Take what I write with a large pinch of salt. What works for me may not yield the same results for others. For those wanting to experiment, let's just enjoy the process and take the opportunity to swap notes and observations. That said, here are some pics (kinda like a photo-journal) from my current attempt, extracted from threads I've posted in other forums.
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April 25th 2009 - approx 3 months after initial sowing/seeding;
Media is recycled AV mix and although there's some growth, it's plagued with blue-green algae (not an algae actually but cynobacteria). I recall 'sterilizing' the mix in the microwave (3mins on high setting and bench cooled before sprinkling the spores)
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyii_AVmix_090422a.jpg

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Next media is what I fondly call 'pontian soil', collected by my fish kakis on one of their trips. It's probably burnt bits of palm oil trees. Germination rate is not as high as I had hoped.
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyii_PontianSoil_090422a.jpg

Another container with similar results using 'pontian soil'. Note two little pups with hairy .... urm... roots??? (at top right corner)
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyii_PontianSoil_090422b.jpg

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I enjoy woodworking and was curious to see if anything will grow on sawdust...
Tub #1
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyii_sawdust1_090422a.jpg

and a close up (sorry, not taken with macro equipment)
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyii_sawdust1_090422b.jpg

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Tub #2
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyii_sawdust2_090422a.jpg

A congested clump with two larger babies on the right..
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyii_sawdust2_090422c.jpg

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Media used is coco peat... leftovers from my killifish-keeping days. Germination rate is pretty good but ... the babies look 'different'. Quite a hairy lot and I'm thinking I might have contamination along the way.
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyii_sawdust3_090422a.jpg

Not sure if you can see all the tiny hairs... could be algae, moss or other contaminants.
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyii_sawdust3_090422b.jpg

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I've given some spores to a fish kaki and he tried it on spaghnum moss. Germination rate is decent but growth rate is the slowest. There are also ridleyii containers along the stairs and stair landing...

I'm already itching to try pulverizing a mix of sphagnum moss + coco peat and see if there's an improvement. I have also leftover liquid growth / rooting hormone...
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#2 User is offline   WetFinger 

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 07:23 PM

June 10th 2009
AAAAAAAaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrggggggggggghhhhhhhhh !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

First, I killed my ridleyii because I was treating it for mealy bugs but it wasn't the bugs that killed my platy.... but but because I got over zealous, over spraying with Shelltox. Ok ok... dumb move, I know, even though I've treated every platy the same and they're not just alive but doing well.

Second, the NEA came kpkb-ing about my tanks, my pots and my parrots. Not only did they flip over my pot saucers (no standing water), they shook my ridleyii cultures (effectively burying and killing the babies) and left some with lids opened, drying up whatever that were trying to grow. Narbu eh... %$@&^%(*&^&_)(**&^^% (censor snip LOL!!)

Anyway,in desperation, I seeded another 20 tubs of ridleyii but it'd be a long time before I can post any updates on these. I've gone through most of my containers and transferred what survivors I could find. Some were small and I had to use a head-worn loupe and a pair of pointed tweezers.
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/PridleyiiBabies_090610a.jpg

The new media base is 50:50 blended sphagnum & coco peat. I misted it with a concoction of growth hormone for aquatic plants and I'm glad I didn't kill them all. Here's another pic...
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/PridleyiiBabies_090610b.jpg

To give an idea of how bluddy slow the original batch grew, the largest in the grouping on the right is about 1cm. Walaueh... waited so long, yet still so small... I'm too tempted to try tissue culturing. Can someone show me how to?

This post has been edited by WetFinger: 11 July 2009 - 08:15 PM

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#3 User is offline   WetFinger 

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 07:26 PM

July 2nd 2009
I'm not sure what stage the little ones are in now (gametophytes or sporophytes) but they sure grow slow. I've also seeded more cultures and to avoid NEA's itchy fingers, I stack, tied, hung, shelved both the new cultures and grow-out boxes.

ridleyii germination boxes
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/RidleyiiGermination_a.jpg

ridleyii plantlet grow-out boxes
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/RidleyiiGrowout_a.jpg

http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/RidleyiiGrowout_b.jpg

I had brief access to a 100mm macro last Sunday but didn't have a tripod at hand... did what I could with a low stool. The 1st 3 images are growing on coir (coco peat) and housed in a hard-acrylic box (like those Ferrero Rocher chocolate balls).

Not sure why some have good bushy root development while others are still pretty 'bald'.
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyii_090628a.jpg

http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyii_090628b.jpg

http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyii_090628c.jpg

Severe over-crowding... time to transfer them to larger grow-out boxes.
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyii_090628d.jpg

While sawdust will allow spore germination and growth, there seems to be a 'crash point', ie. deteriorate and dying from negative growth. Lacking in nutrients perhaps?? Time to get out my head loupe and start transferring. Another image here.
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyii_090628eS.jpg

Since coir blocks are a pain to find, I've gotten a sod peat block from Ah Guan and am experimenting with it for spore germination and grow-out. The appearance and texture is nothing like coir nor peat and it's hydrophobic!! Soaking/microwaving on repeated cycles seems to work but only time will tell if it's a viable medium. Hmm... wonder how long more before I can 'harden' the sporelings for repotting.

This post has been edited by WetFinger: 11 July 2009 - 08:16 PM

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#4 User is offline   WetFinger 

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 07:31 PM

Update July 8th 2009
ok folks, I DIY'ed a simple suspended frame and reorganized the boxes around. Much neater I think... (then maybe the TC don't kaupeh so much!!!)

Just completed kapo wood grease-coated frame and suspended from the parapet wall railing with 1.5mm gauge stainless steel wires (replacing the two hastily rigged 'sheves' shown earlier).
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/woodframe_090707a.jpg

Now neatly stacked. Secured down with rafia string to prevent gusts of wind toppling everything.
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/woodframe_090707b.jpg

Did likewise to the other stack of germination boxes (the bar looks better and more flexible than previous one).
Closeup of hooks here.
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/RidleyiiHookRack.jpg
Now I'm itching to have a few more of these bars to display my other platys!

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Update on ridleyii babies in a fish tank!! July 11th 2009
Here is darling's dead ridleyii cabbage, housed in a decomissioned 2ft tank. Earlier on, I scraped a depression to sow spores and I'm surprised it's growing relatively fast (if these are ridleyii in the first place and not some contaminant). See closer image. The same is growing on a damp driftwood as well.
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyii_OldBall_090710a.jpg

Inspired by the possibilities, I started another tank using under gravel filter plates & slices of sod peat with a dug out dimple to 'plant' the transferred babies. The UGF is to prevent sod slices from being soaked in water (from condensation).
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyii_tank_090710b.jpg

How? You think can work bo???

Regards,
Ronnie
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#5 User is offline   lchsu 

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 08:15 PM

Looks like you might have some platys coming up, but it's real hard to say at this size. Do you have any other ferns? Or do your neighbours grow any other ferns? Some of our local ferns can be very invasive.....

Platys take a long time to sporulate - generally you think in terms of years before you get a decent size sporeling.... :(/>

Here's a video of how one grower does it in Thailand Sowing Platycerium spores

And the follow up video on How to transplant sporophytes

Then there is the Ang Moh way of germination Growing platyceriums from spore

They are more sterile in their ways and should be "better", but on the other hand you can't dispute the success that the Thai growers have with platyceriums!

I think I will be trying out the Thai way, maybe with modification mostly to sterilize the sphagnum (since I will probably be using the cheap chinese sphagnum for the base layer).

I think your "take-away" style hanger has more character :D/>
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#6 User is offline   WetFinger 

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 08:47 PM

Hi lchsu,
Thanks for the links. I've gone through these before when germination failed for the umpteenth time and I'm quite aware that the process isn't a stroll in the park but I'm willing to wait.

I currently have Platycerium grande, bifurcatum, elephantotis, a young coronarium* and two no-ID's stags but none of these have fertile fronds or developed spores, although there are some 'wild oat' ferns in my neighbor's patch one floor down.

*I was very slow to figure who this mysterious lchsu is, but yes, now I can't be wrong. That coronarium was from you, relayed by Vincent and it's growing nicely. Thanks!! Perhaps we can meet up at Ah Soon's place to swap notes and lim kopi.

They are more sterile in their ways and should be "better", but on the other hand you can't dispute the success that the Thai growers have with platyceriums!
So what advantages do you suppose the Thai folks have over their western counterparts? Climate over greenhouses?

I think I will be trying out the Thai way, maybe with modification mostly to sterilize the sphagnum (since I will probably be using the cheap chinese sphagnum for the base layer)
In my experience with killifish keeping and earlier germination trials, you can safely microwave the sphagnum (in larger curry fish-head takeaways) with two repeated cycles of 5 mins on high setting. It should kill most organisms short of using an autoclave.

I think your "take-away" style hanger has more character
I shall take that as a compliment. Thank you. [heck, I need something to encourage me mah :hysterical:/> ]
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#7 User is offline   WetFinger 

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 09:57 AM

lchsu, I just remembered something... if you go through the Thai videos, you'd see that they don't sow spores or transfer sporophytes directly to sphagnum but on a dark colored media, which I'm guessing is either compost or peat. I'm hoping someone here can help translate the narration but what do you think it is?

Reason for not sowing directly onto sphagnum strands, I think, is that it makes retrieving small plants more difficult if they're rooted (unless the medium is pulverized). I have some sown cultures with pulverized sphagnum/coir mix but it's too early to tell. Have not tried straight compost yet, so I can't say.

BTW, if there are platy hobbyists reading this and you have a thought/guess/experience to share, I'd be delighted by your participation.
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#8 User is offline   WetFinger 

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 07:46 AM

another update... July 16th 2009

I was intrigued why the 'dead cabbage' allowed good growing. Was it air, media, humidity, light, warmth... WHAT??!! Anyone care to chip in?

OK, so maybe it was complimentary combination of all elements but I have only one 'cabbage'... how to experiment? Like 'The Thinker' statue going "I'm thinking, I'm thinking..." (and looking at a new year pineapple tart goodie container).

Hmm... why not? So here's my sod 'kueh' with cocopeat filling! :hysterical:/>
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/SodFern_090714a.jpg

Harvested ridleyii plantlets and another image here
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/plantlets_090714a.jpg

Slices on epoxy-coated mesh rack
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/plantlets_090714d.jpg

...slow bake in humidity tank setup
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/plantlets_090714h.jpg

Since more air space seems beneficial, I dug out another plastic tank. Those individual 'pots' (from BGA-infected container), plus an earlier box
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/plantlets_090714j.jpg

...and one thing leads to another (as it often does in my case)
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/plantlets_090714k.jpg

We'll see how well my guesstimate work but meanwhile, can someone recommend me a 'safe' fertilizer to use for young plants that won't burn roots or suitable for baby ridleyiis? Thanks!

Cheers... and yyaayyy... TGIF! Here comes the weekend!!,
Ronnie
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#9 User is offline   WetFinger 

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 05:45 PM

Update 20th July... my babies got wings but all different shapes!! Perhaps this is the sporophytes stage?
Click on image for larger pic.

http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyii_090720aCt.jpg

http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyii_090720aSCt.jpg

http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyii_090720bSCt.jpg

Enjoy!
Ronnie
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#10 User is offline   pino 

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 09:53 AM

yes, i think it is...
you did a good job. :notworthy:/> :notworthy:/>
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#11 User is offline   Chawanmushi 

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 12:25 PM

Wow .... the process is tedious, I salute you for your patience and perserverance.
Congrats to you having gotten wings on your ridley :-)
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#12 User is offline   WetFinger 

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 11:21 PM

Matt, most of the plantlets are quite stable despite the small size and I've been transferring the larger ones to separate grow-out containers. With head-worn loupe and a pointed tweezer, picking them out individually without crimping, is the most tiring part of the process. Fingers get crampy and eyes will start to strain after a while.

From here, it'd just be occasional misting till they're big enough to start 'hardening' the fronds, and gradually acclimatize them to lower humidity environment before mounting onto fern bark slabs. I'd probably grow some in 4inch pots, so I can conveniently move them around and/or experiment with different lighting conditions.

Chawanmushi, for the most part, it isn't tedious but the waiting (to see something or move on to the next developmental stage) can be testing. As 'lchsu' mentioned, we're talking about years!! *gasp!! choke!! faint!!*

I'm also quickly running out of aquariums for 'humidity boxes'... so here's one with stainless steel mesh rack. Reminds one of kuehs baking in a Baby Belling! :hysterical:/>

http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyii_090718b.jpg

Cheers,
Ronnie
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#13 User is offline   Chawanmushi 

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 10:36 AM

Goodness, gracious! Years to move onto the next development stage! I also will faint! No patience to wait so long ...LOL
How nice if there is such a thing as a growth hormone for ridley yes? Or maybe the existence of this 'hormone' is just wishful thinking :-)
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#14 User is offline   WetFinger 

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 02:38 PM

Let me rephrase... it can take months between stages but for a platy to be grown from spores till it's a mature specimen, will take years!! I have some 4inch platys coming in and when I asked the seller how long it took for the plants to reach this (small) size, he said... "between 3~4 years". Holy cow!! That's about ONE inch each YEAR!! :ranting2:/>

Then again, I suppose it depends on species. I received lchsu's P. coronarium when it was a 3inch plantlet and it has now grown to this [quite fast, I think]. Likewise for the bifurcatum, shooting pups without a care in the world, while the P. elephantotis took a long while to grow a new basal frond.

At least they're not dead!! :hysterical:/>

This post has been edited by WetFinger: 12 September 2009 - 01:17 AM

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#15 User is offline   Shireen 

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 04:06 PM

I really admire your dedication. Makes me really appreciate my small ridleyii to realise how painstaking the work of propagating it is.
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#16 User is offline   WetFinger 

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 08:07 PM

View PostShireen, on Jul 24 2009, 04:06 PM, said:

Makes me really appreciate my small ridleyii...

Shireen, this thread is for sharing and if you have a pic of your ridleyii (no matter how small a specimen), why not share it with us? I'll take that as comparison... if and when my little babies get to that size! *twiddling fingers, watching water boil...*

Update 27th July 2009
Anyway, I checked though some spore-sown boxes and am happy to say that those labeled "24th May 09 - coco:sph 1:1" *) are showing a lawn of green. No definitive shape or form yet and looks like plain algae! Those sown a month later, ie. 24th June, well... it still look like a layer of media! :hysterical:/>

Now that I have the earlier batch to play with, I'm perfectly ok to wait and if all goes well, I'm gonna have platys sprouting from my... erhm... you know where!! :lol:/>

I've also collected, with kind compliments from Jeffrey, two bags of peat moss (one Horti and the other, coined "AMK peat moss"... whatever that means) and will sow some spores on it probably this coming weekend. Let's see if germination rate is any different.

* ratio of pulverized coco-peat & sphagnum moss mix 1:1
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#17 User is offline   WetFinger 

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 07:28 PM

Hi folks,
One thing I learned from the whole process is that I'm pretty good at growing weeds!! :hysterical:/> ... and these are the ones with lobulated first true leaves. Drats! What a killjoy!

Good news is that I have sporophytes that are potentially ridleyi plantlets.
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyi_090815a.jpg

There was an earlier batch that I transferred out into a decom'ed aquarium with peat moss over sphagnum base. Misted weekly and growing stable. Largest is only 1cm... haiz...
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyi_090815b.jpg
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#18 User is offline   WetFinger 

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 04:58 PM

Hi all,
It feels good to update and to find more sporophytes shooting their first true leaf. This is what most of the boxes look like and here's another box.

This is the close up of ridleyi plantlets growing on 100% compost. When these start crowding each other out, I'll trans-plant them to a larger container with compost/vermiculite/perlite combi-media.
http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t100/WetFingers/plants/Platycerium/ridleyi_090821c.jpg

Cheers,
Ronnie
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#19 User is offline   pino 

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 05:38 PM

hard work pay off.
next challenge, remove them from the box & mount them on fernbark.
now you wonder how those collectors hybride their platy???
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#20 User is offline   WetFinger 

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 06:17 PM

Fern bark mounting? No lah, not that soon. Look at NST's coronarium. Already more than 2 years, now then ready to harden in pot. After that, another nong nong wait before mounting. Hopefully when the time comes, I can still afford to buy fern bark for all my babies!

For the hybridized platys, these hybridizers are so much more patient than us. Imagine growing a hybrid plantlet to maturity; wait for spores, germinate them, grow-out the sporophytes, harden them, wait for maturity, then try for 2nd generation to see if they propagate true... then put the next generation for sale... Ssheeessshhh... oh gawd... I can't wait that long!!!!
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