Bill Shear wrote:
: Let's keep the distinction clear between natural selection and artificial
: selection. Natural selection operating in nature favors all characters
: that lead to one thing--leaving behind more offspring. Artificial
: selection by man can make no such claim, in fact, artificial selection
: often emphasizes characters that are of detriment to the selected form--but
: of benefit to man.
Excellent point. But I'd like to add that another type of selection comes into
play after the reason-based, artificial selection practiced by a hybridizer. An
economic selection occurs in the marketplace, where one of life's harsh
realities is that spectacular flowers sell better than gardenable plants.
For example -- when I was co-chair of the ASI Plant Sale, we had customers who
ordered the same onco species year after year. Wanted them so badly that they
were willing to treat them as expensive annuals. Not that I'm criticizing the
oncos. They are truly spectacular -- still my own first love -- but not exactly
known as gardenable in most of this country. ASI loved them, too, because they
were great revenue-producers while sales of the most gardenable arilbreds tended
to be minimal. Why? A gardenable variety is easy to get through swaps with
other irisarians or through local sales and rarely has to be replaced.
Food for thought:
If individuals observe which varieties are gardenable in their own areas, and
who produced them, then buy new varieties produced by that hybridizer, these
same economic forces can be harnessed in favor of gardenability. It's called
Sharon McAllister (firstname.lastname@example.org)