Lilies & virus

John Bryan
Tue, 21 Nov 2006 10:48:41 PST
Way back in the 60's, the lily hybrid Enchantment, introduced by Jan de
Graaff's Oregon Bulb Farms, began to loose the size of flowers and the
bud count. Many acres of this hybrid had been grown for a great number
of years. It was decided to propagate, by tissue culture, a new stock.
Enchantment was, the first lily to receive a Patent, being grow widely
for cut flower production as well as a garden plant and we exported many
thousands to the Netherlands. It is to be noted that the plants did not
show signs of virus, just the flower size and count diminished. This was
thought to be a clonal breakdown, not an unusual occurrence and I think
this was a correct diagnosis.

The result of the tissue culture was the new stock, so propagated,
regained the flower size and bud count of previous years. Thus it is not
only virus that causes such problems, but clonal breakdown is another
factor of a decline of a variety/culivar. I suppose Enchantment is still
being grown but has been superseded by newer hybrids, but the bloodline
of this great Asiatic lilly can still be seen in progeny, for example
the black tips of the buds etc.

This might be of interest, the point being decline of a plant is not
always due to a virus, but continued propagation by vegetative means can
also cause problems. Cheers, John E. Bryan

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