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Re: Hybridization...

Thanks Chick, that is a very interesting reply!

Ray Wz5
Mentor, Ohio

Chick wrote:

> Well..., while your first two sentences are technically correct, I think
> your conclusion is misleading.    If you are going to use streaked plants,
> whether seedlings or divisions of older plants, for hybridizing, you don't
> want them to mature and stabilize.  If you want a mature, stable hosta, you
> shouldn't be buying streaked plants.  Streaked plants, with 'Spilt Milk'
> being the only possible exception I am aware of, are by definition,
> unstable.  Over time, all streaked plants will revert to single color or
> variegated plants, and when a streaked plant no longer produces streaked
> leaves and instead, produces leaves that are all uniformly colored, they are
> considered stable.  At that point, they no longer produce streaked or
> variegated seedlings.  On the other hand, streaked seedlings will usually
> bloom the first year, and will themselves produce more streaked and
> variegated seedlings.  When they mature and stabilize, they will no longer
> produce streaked and variegated seedlings to any extent. In my experience,
> there is no difference in the ability of young or old plants to produce
> streaked and variegated seedlings.
> Stabilization is not something that cannot be stopped.  I happens as the
> plant multiplies.  When a single eye division or seedling of a streaked
> plant multiplies, generally in the spring, the new shoots that arise will
> differ in their coloring.  A plant that has four new shoots may have one
> that is green, one that is edge variegated, one center variegated, and one
> that is streaked, or some other combination of the various possibilities.
> You maintain the streaking from year to year by dividing the plant and
> isolating the streaked shoots, otherwise, the stable shoots will dominate
> and the streaking will eventually be lost - the plant is stabilized.  And
> since only the streaked shoots will reliably produce streaked or variegated
> seedlings, a mature, stable plant is not what most breeders are looking
> for.  This process occurs whether the plant is one year old or 10 years old.
> Some hostas hold their streaking longer than others, but without dividing,
> all that I am aware of will eventually lose it.  There is no reason to buy
> named, streaked hostas, which may be what Chris is referring to as "already
> mature", rather than seedlings, except that you will have some indication as
> to what the characteristics of the plant will be because they have been
> described, rather than the pot luck you have with seedlings.  That doesn't
> always mean that the characteristics of the named varieties are superior,
> just predictable.
> Chick
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