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Re: Variegation and viruses

  • Subject: Re: Variegation and viruses
  • From: Paul Tyerman <ptyerman@ozemail.com.au>
  • Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2002 09:46:28 -0600 (CST)

>On another list a while back, a grower and breeder decided to give away
>his collection. It was a valuable one, representing years of work.
>However, somehow someone heard a rumor that "his collection is virused".
>The rumor surfaced on that list. Suddenly, with no real evidence, people
>were rushing to destroy not just the plants they'd gotten from the grower,
>but even ones which had been near them, despite the counsel of cooler
>heads. Someone took samples and had them tested (one of the difficulties
>with plant viruses is that knowing for sure requires testing). Result: no
>sign of virus in any of the samples.


I think I remember that particular episode.  Sad is definitely the case!!
>From what I know you're right in that there are virus and natural
variegation in plants.  The other thing to watch out for is that there are
plants where BOTH occur in the species, so you need to be sure which you've
got before condemning it to death.  From memory there are two different
types of variegation in Abutilons (Chinese Lanterns.... I realise that
these are NOT aroids <grin>).  One is a genetic variegation and the other
is a viral.  The viral form will jump to other Abutilons in the garden
while the genetic will not.  Needless to say I removed the fairly newly
purchased variety that was a virus-based variegation (and is sold happily
in nurseries).  I didn't take the step of ripping out the 7 foot high red
Abutilon next to it, and there has never been any evidence that I should
have.  Knee-jerk reactions are a good way to throw out some wonderful and
healthy plants.

To my way of thinking.  If you are concerned.... Isolate it!!!!!  If you're
still not sure then take a "throwaway" plant and put it next to it, even
mix sap from or graft the suspected "virused" plant onto the hose that is
expendable.  That is an easy way to find out whether it will spread or not.


Paul Tyerman
Canberra, Australia.  USDA equivalent - Zone 8/9

Growing.... Galanthus, Erythroniums, Fritillarias, Cyclamen, Crocus,
Cyrtanthus, Liliums, Hellebores, Aroids, Irises plus just about anything
else that doesn't move!!!!!

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