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Sports Terms Forum

Sports Scholars

Some four years ago there was once a short lived Discussion on Sports
before hosta-open, before open-hosta, before Phoenix, in the days of
hosta-l@honza.com when Giboshiman was majordomo. I attempted to get a
discussion going but it soon died from malnourishment or some unknown
cause. From a historical point of view, an old post such as this one
might be of interest to some. It is amazing how the concepts of the
origins of sports have changed very little from four years  ago. Ben had
just written his first article which I mentioned in passing.. I had not
critiqued it at this early date. So this email document is a part of
history but still stands as a milestone beside our pathway movin' on.

Jim Hawes


        Sport Term Forum
        Fri, 28 Mar 1997 12:34:20 -0500
        Jim Hawes <hawesj@miworld.net>

Hosta Friends,

There seems to be some interest in discussing sports, definitions and
related terms. So, as promised, I will initiate the discussion with a
few "concept statements" that may be considered conventionl wisdom and
others that are not conventional, perhaps. These descriptive statements
may serve as long-winded definitions of a specific term being discussed.

In some occasions the discriptions may be speculative and should be
identified as such. In other cases, the descriptions may be reported
research of others in which case, it is cited as such. Other
descriptions may be in the form of personal experiences or observations.

As you read on, your critique of the presentation will evolve. Consider
the old and new ideas, the old and new definitions and old and new
observations. Make a few notes and blast away when you doubt or perhaps
KNOW that what is being presented is weak, incomplete or just plain

>From the suggested list of topics related to sports, I will arbitrarily

chose the first on the list for my initial "piece" to discuss......The
Phenomena of Sports. A working definition follows:

1.   A sport is a gardener's term for a change in appearance in a part
of a plant that sprouted from a bud of the plant. In Hostas, sports are
commonly considered to be changes in the color of leaves. Thus they
differ from the parent plant. Hosta leaves may be green (perhaps several

intensities of green), yellow (various shades of yellow, gold,
chartreuse, etc.)albo-marginated (with varying widths of white borders),

aureo-marginated (with yellow, gold or cream colored borders),
medio-variegated (with light colored centers and dark borders) and
mosaic type variegated forms (either streaked, splashed, marbled,
stripped or "snow flurried" types of variegation patterns).Readers are
referred to Kevin Vaughn's two articles in the AHS Bulletin 11....
Variegation in Hostas and Chloroplast Mutants in Hostas.

2.  Color in Hostas....I admit freely in this forum discussion that my
concepts regarding color on hosta leaves are speculative but areis based

upon logical reasoning and research experiences working with plant
materials other than hostas. I look upon color in hosta leaves as a
function of types and populations of plastids in the cytoplasm of cells
which constitute the leaf tissue. As a graduate student in Horticulture
at the University of Maryland in the early 1950's I worked with plant
pigments such a chlorophyll a and b, carotin, xanthophyll, lycopene and
anthocyanins extracted from plant tissues with various solvents.
Measurements of extracts were made by light transmission methods.
Correlations of pigment concentrations and physiological conditions of
plant material were researched. This research experience provided an
excellent exposure to plant pigment technology which can be applied to
the Genus Hosta to better understand color phenomena. Kevin Vaughn has
attributed inheritance factors that determine color to the mutant
plastids in the cytoplasm of cells (This infers that plastids themselves

have their own DNA which can change and possibly control the nature of
the plastids.....more on this later). I have gone a small step further
in suggesting speculatively (in the absence of specific research to back

up suggestions) the  attribution of color variability in Hosta leaves to

the pigments contained in the various plastids by type and population
numbers. This subject was discussed in "Using the Artist's Palette to
Classify Hosta Sports", The Hosta Journal, Vol. 27, No. 1, 1996.

3.  Definition of Modified Benedict Cross. The basic work of Kevin
Vaughn in Chloroplast Mutants led to writings by Benedict, Wilkins and
others in which the term "Benedict Cross" described a model of the
relationship of five types of Hosta variants mentioned in para 1 above.
Benedict called the streaked plant the "mother" plant which, being
unstable,sported to green, yellow, margined and mediovariegated forms
eventually. In 1995 and later I suggested the Benedict Cross should be
modified by adding a circle around it and placing the various colored
froms in an appropriate position based upon plastid (and thus pigment)
attributes (see Clans of Sporting Clones, The Hosta

4.  Incidences of sporting, as represented by the directional arrows
shown in the Modified Benedict Cross (synonomous with the Artist's
Palette), show relationships of various sports within a Group based upon

historical records, reportings and personal observations.Note that the
term "Clan" was never intended to be a nomenclatural aggregate of sport
types.  It was intended to be merely the title of a Journal article.
Also note that the use of this classification tool recognizes that
sporting occurs in many directions, perhaps in all directions, and not
just from the streaked mother plant in the center of the graphic format
and outward to the forms on the periphery of the circle.

5. Seasonal changes in plastid types and numbers.
The mix of plastids within cells may vary during the season, thus there
may be seasonal variation in color due to changing environments during
the season as well as possible genetic controlling factors that affect
color variability. Both of these subjects are complex and can be
discussed in detail later. They are mentioned here to recognize their
importance and to remind us to discuss them later.

6  In summary, I hope I have made the point that a sport is an
all-inclusive term. What type of sport we may be discussing is defined
by genetic and histological explanations of the phenomena involved in
each specific example. Ben Zonneveld does this in his Journal article
"Mutations, Recombinations, Sports and Chimaerae" (The Hosta Journal,
Vol.27, No.1). An additional article in the Spring Edition of The Hosta
Journal may explain these phenomena in even further detail. I look
forward to studying it.

Dear friends, in concluding my remarks in this email, I am aware that
this area of related subjects is very large. To do it justice will take
a long time. Gardening season is upon us and our email traffic will
probably slow down considerably. This should not deter us from reading,
thinking, making observations and posting from time to time. As our
emails go dormant somewhat in the summer season and then break dormancy
again in the fall (just the opposite from our Hostas, isn't it?) we will

be ready to resume with vigor.

I look forward to cold water frontal attacks, jabs from both flanks,
cacaphonies of ridicule from all around but occasional support from a
few friends. But let's have at it! We will enjoy and learn at the same

Best Regards,

Jim Hawes Oakland Md

PS  I hope that soon we can get into a discussion of mutations. I hope
our Geneticist gurus are chomping at the bit to help us.

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