How about if you talk to a local pharmacist. Maybe you can convince him or her to sell you some. It is used in the treatment of gout. An African Violet breeder friend of mine did just that. She ground up the pills and dusted the base of her leaf cuttings in it and obtained some polyploids. ‘Out of Africa’ African violet is a polyploid obtained this way. I think Sigma chemical company sells in the UK, so you may be able to get it from them. Years ago I ordered some and all they needed was a business account and address to send it to- they don’t sell to individuals. I was able to do it through the greenhouse I was working for at the time. If all you need is some chemical to induce polyploids, I’d suggest orzalin or trifluralin, the active ingredients in Surflan and Treflan, common preemergent herbicides. These chemicals are less toxic to humans and more specific to plant microtubules.
Colchicine of the type needed to induce polyploidy is extremely deadly. It’s an extremely powerful carcinogen. It requires the utmost caution and special equipment to use with any kind of safety, including disposal. As far as I know it’s illegal for most people to obtain and use for anything other than realtively rare medical applications. Just FYI.
David, thanks for the suggestions, I have spoken to a local pharmacist who informed me that Colchicine was a prescription only drug and not available over the counter, but I will look into the company you mentioned.
You should try surflan, which is a bit safer-- although I wouldn’t mind trying colchicine, if only I could do it safely…
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