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Re: sports


Ran,

I am not sure I agree with you about the dormant bud observation.  All buds
in Hosta are dormant until they grow.  I am sure you know that Hosta growth
is typified by a lateral bud developing into a strong leader that we see as
a shoot.  As it grows, it forms leaves and axially buds (and of course
roots).  Apical dominance keeps all of the axially buds dormant, but a few
at the base of the stem do swell.  Finally, the meristem produces a flower
stalk and apical dominance is released.  If the season is right, a few of
the basal buds grow and start the cycle all over again.  The same cycle
occurs in tissue culture except that we never have flower inducing
conditions so all the buds remain vegetative.  We keep the lateral buds
growing (lower apical dominance) by adding BAP to the culture medium.  We
are not inducing the truly dormant axially buds (those that do not swell)
any more than natural growth does.

Now, some technical stuff.  Under controlled conditions, TC should work as
described in the above paragraph.  However, we do not live in an ideal
world.  The growth conditions that we provide the plants are, obviously, not
perfect and we can get greedy and try to push the plants too hard (altering
phytohormone concentrations and some other things).  Under these conditions
we get what is called bud proliferation (hundreds of buds formed in a mass
which at the extreme are called bud balls).  The amount of bud proliferation
is variety dependent, and is most often seen on new explants.  It can be
easily missed if not watched for.  This technique is used in many plants to
get mass production of the plant (Bananas for example).  When we grew some
venus fly traps we could get up to 250 plants from a single jar.  Hosta
would be a lot less expensive if we could use this technique.  It is a
danger in Hosta production (and probably day lilies as well) because it
leads to so many off types.  We discard any cultures that form any bud
proliferation. Even a small amount of proliferation (which can be hard to
see) can really mess up a line.

I know that as a lab gets large, it can get harder to control the variables
that can lead to problems (such as bud proliferation), and some labs clearly
do not seem to care that much about product.  In the Hosta business, you can
end up with a mess if you let things get out of hand.  I am amazed at what I
see at the Horticultural trade shows.  All yellow Francis Williams, So Sweet
with a very thin variegation, and that yellow Gold Standard.  I could go on,
but you get the point.  Do not get me wrong, I am not bad mouthing the other
Hosta labs that you are familiar with, but there are many other labs
(foreign and domestic) that are beginning to produce Hosta with mixed
results.  How does a lab in India (I am not picking on one country here)
know how to cull a Hosta that will not even grow there?

I agree with you that it is the responsibility of the TC lab to produce good
culled plants, but that is an ideal that will probably not be reached in
today's market.  The nature of TC will produce some bad plants from time to
time, and I wait in fear for the time that I sell something that is clearly
not true to form.

Jim Anderson

-----Original Message-----
From: RL <ranbl@netsync.net>
To: hosta-open@mallorn.com <hosta-open@mallorn.com>
Date: Sunday, August 15, 1999 1:48 AM
Subject: Re: sports



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