John Grimshaw
Mon, 20 Nov 2006 23:44:08 PST
John Bryan wrote in the context of Hippeastrum:

To say that all stocks are infected I feel is not only not true but unfair. 
Growers in the
> Netherlands are very conscious of the need to sell only the best
> possible stock.

I think is should not go uncommented on, as in my experience the Dutch 
phytosanitary inspectors have a fairly relaxed approach to viral disease 
(and more serious issues, like Sudden Oak Death fungus in Rhododendron and 
Viburnum). I am not familiar with the situation in Hippeastrum, but many ARE 
virused and MOST carry Stagonospora curtisii (which does not affect them too 
badly but can be devastating to other amaryllids). This is just accepted as 
the norm in the trade. I was once talking to Floris Barnhoorn from Hadeco at 
his stand at the Hortifair trade show in Holland, where the display bulbs 
had been grown in South Africa and shipped in a near flowering-state to 
Holland. As we talked I saw the obvious signs of Stagonospora on some of the 
bulbs, and mentioned it with a comment on phytosanitary matters: he just 
said 'Shh, you weren't suposed to see that.'

I would say that the vast majority of commercially-grown Narcissus are 
visibly virus-infected (many Dutch-sold daffs are grown in England), as are 
stocks from many other genera. The bulb growers know this very well and know 
also that in most cases the virus has limited effect on the bulb - 
especially when grown in ideal, heavily fertilised conditions... I think it 
is true to say that stocks with really debilitating viruses are destroyed, 
but John Bryan's words 'the best possible stock' cover a lot of sins!

John Grimshaw

Dr John M. Grimshaw
Sycamore Cottage
Nr Cheltenham
Gloucestershire GL53 9NP

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