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Re: Sports...several definitions

  • Subject: Re: Sports...several definitions
  • From: Jim Hawes <hawesj@atlantic.net>
  • Date: Wed, 04 Jul 2001 15:29:31 -0400

Hosta Sports,

In order not to get into an argument about semantics, let me repeat a post
of about three months ago. It provides several definitions of a sport.
Readers can decide for themselves what a sport is..

I suggest that Bill's observations about what a sport is, is quite
valid.However........ He suggests that ONE CRITERIA can be used to make the
argument that  very wide margins (which may be significantly different from
the parent to call it a sport ) be called "selections"  of sports. This
actually establishes another hierarchy in our level of recognition between
1.species with latinized names,
2.individual selections within a species populations,( named or un-named),
3.cultivars which are selections of species or hybrids between species or
other hybrids,
4.sports, which are selections of cultivars which are different from their
parents which result from nuclear mutations or plastid mutations and the
related sorting oput processes involved,
5and selections of sports which are only slightly  different from their

There are several other criteria that we must not forget, some of which Bill
has mentioned..If other changes are noticeable, such as nuclear mutations
that change the wax chacteristics  which might modify the glaucous
chacteristics of the plant,  shifts in patterns or colors of variegation,
mitichondrial mutations that may affect the vigor of the plant, its
metabolism, its respiration , its photosynthesis rate or other physiological
characteristics as affected by its environment, then we can not avoid such
differences between  the plant in question and its parent. In such obvious
cases it must be considered a sport, in my opinion.

Since morphological and physiological characteristics of a sport in question
may be genetically controlled, I believe the most important criteria to
consider in defining a sport is to determine if the cause of the change is
genetically controlled, that is, is the plant in question different because
of gentic reasons. If it is, then it should be considered a sport. What Bill
has been using as the criteria to determine if a plant is a sport is whether
any "new tissue has appeared".  My opinion is that if the
"selection"...(that is, the stage of "sorting out" of a form that is
variable) is able to be propagated and meanwhile maintain its
characteristics for which it was selected, then it meets the criteria of the
official definition of a sport according to the Hartmann and Kester
definition of a bud sport. See the several definitions presently below and
decide what you think.

Yours truly,



Jim Hawes wrote:

> Sports Scholars,
> We run across definitions from time to time. Some seem incorrect because
> of a word insertion or for some other reason. What have you found that
> appears different?
> 1 A definition from American College Dictionary..a part of a plant that
> shows an unusual deviation from the parent type ( plant) . I wonder if
> an  "usual" deviation therefore is NOT a sport?.
> 2. In one post I called a bud sport " a change in the appearance in the
> part of the plant that sprouted from a bud." I referred to it as a
> gardeners term but it is more than that. It is also used as a scientific
> term by Botanists, Horticulturists, Plant Anatomists but not by
> Geneticists strangely. I wonder what they have against the term?.
> 3 In an email from Holland on August 16, 1999 a definition is given as a
> shoot differing from the mother plant irrespective of the cause. Now we
> can think of several causes of shoots  that may  differ from the mother
> plant, such as virus, damage of all sorts, differences due to cultural
> factors , etc. So this definition has some weaknesses.
> 4. Hartmann ( of Kester and Hartman...the plant propagation authorities,
> i.e. Plant Propagation, Principles and Practices) in an early edition
> describes a sport as a plant arising from a bud which is suddenly
> affected by a change in the inheritable character that can be
> perpetuated by asexual means. A little wordy but who dares to argue with
> the experts who write textbooks for college use?
> 5. In a later edition Hartmann and Kester describes it as a branch which
> shows changes in one or more inheritable characters that can be
> perpetuated by asexual means. Are you thinking what I am thinking? Yes,
> a division is a branch, so this definition is certainly accurate for
> hostas.
> What is your definition for a sport...technically, it is called  a "bud
> sport"?
> Jim H.

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