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Re: Great Expectations

  • Subject: Re: Great Expectations
  • From: halinar@open.org
  • Date: Sat, 10 Aug 2002 23:50:46 -0700 (PDT)

Bill:

>To this day, I don't think anybody does know why this happens with 
>GE, but newer batches do seem better. It may be a mutation to a less 
>vigorous form, but it seems more likely it is an adverse reaction to 
>the treatment it receives in the tissue culture process

A lot of people like to blame TC for all the hosta off types, but the 
problem with GE can also be found in normal propagation.  All the 
variations we see in particular hostas are the result of transposible 
elements moving about.  In the case of GE one of these locations for 
the/a transposible element results in a slow growing form.  I was down 
at Charlie Purtymun's recently and he showed me a named Whirlwind 
sport he was growing that was very similar to Whirlwind, but smaller. 
Can't remember the name as I wasn't all that impressed with it - I 
have enough of my own slow growing smaller Whirlwinds that I'm not 
sure what to do with yet.
  
Francee is another one where there is some interesting forms that I've 
noticed.  In particular there are three color forms - the normal 
"dark" green, a lighter green form and a very pale green form.  The 
lighter green form is fairly common, but the pale green form is rarer 
- basically has the same color as Fragrant Bouquet.  The difference 
between Patriot and Minuteman is the same transposible element as 
between the normal and lighter green Francee.  I'm also picking up 
some Francee's that appear to be quite different is leaf size, but I'm 
not quite sure how stable these forms are yet.  

My guess is that all this variegation we see in hostas is under VERY 
complicated genetic control which is further complicated by hostas 
being either allotetraploids or even allohexaploids.  With GE one of 
these common varients is just a slow growing form.  Makes growing 
hostas interesting!

Joe Halinar

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