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Re: CULT-Borer--other plants attacked

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: CULT-Borer--other plants attacked
  • From: Bill Shear <bills@tiger.hsc.edu>
  • Date: Fri, 12 Sep 1997 13:49:20 -0600 (MDT)

>In Cornell Extension Bulletin 112, "Bearded Iris: A Perennial Suited to all
>Gardens", by Austin Sand (1925), the following sentence is found on page 51:
>" Grace Sturtevant reports injury to lupines, columbines, bleeding hearts,
>and especially Aquilegia chrysantha by this same insect".
>Plants of the semi-shade with enlarged root crowns. Natives, or plants with
>close native relatives, depending upon what species she was refering to.

On the one hand, this makes some ecological sense.  We know from experience
that irises grown in water are not (almost always not) attacked by borers.
If the borer is truly a North American native, its hosts had to be
versicolor and virginica, both primarily water irises.  So how would this
work?  Maybe the borers had a range of hosts, and still do, but we see them
as "iris borers" because of our focus on irises.

On the other hand, the identification of larvae and even adult moths in the
group to which the iris borer belongs is quite difficult and a matter for
the real pros.  Who did the identifications back then, or was Sturtevant
simply surmising that all caterpillars boring in bulky perennial roots were
the same?

Clearly there is a plenty of scope for research on this subject.  I would
suspect that as Anner has found there is a fair amount of good information
on the subject in unexpected places.

I think I'll try to pursue this through the entomological and agricultural
literature.  Meantime, I'll ask Anner if there are any references to borers
in the bibliography of the Cornell publication....?

Bill Shear
Department of Biology
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943
FAX (804)223-6374

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