Misnamed and virused Dutch bulbs

totototo@telus.net totototo@telus.net
Tue, 27 Oct 2009 13:17:43 PDT
On 27 Oct 2009, at 15:18, Jim McKenney wrote:

> Doesn't it seem unlikely that a commercial crocus grower would tolerate a
> virus infected stock year after year? You would think that 
> commercial growers would be quick to get rid of virused stock...

Well, maybe *you* would think that Jim, but as far as I've ever been able to 
tell, the Dutch bulb industry does not put the word "honest" in its ads looking 
for new employees.

Misnamed bulbs from Dutch sources have been the target of complaints since the 
late 1940s; there's a moan'n'groan about it in an AGS publication from that 
time. (Maybe not the journal/bulletin, but one of the secondary publications.)

In my younger, more naive days I used to point out to local garden centers that 
the corms they were selling of Crocus 'such and such' couldn't be true to name 
because the tunics weren't right. Eventually I awoke to the fact that the 
garden centers really didn't care, weren't interested, and weren't about to do 
anything about it, so I stopped.

What I noticed repeatedly was that even if what you were getting wasn't true to 
name, it was a crocus of about the same color. It was common to see C. 
tommasinianus labelled as one of the blue chrysanthus/bicolor cultivars. Or 
you'd buy a yellow chrysanthus cultivar and get the huge Dutch Yellow instead. 
Most customers wouldn't care: they planted a bluey-purply or yellowy crocus in 
the fall and that's what flowered in the spring. My point is that the 
substitutions were done quite knowingly; these were no innocent mixups!

So between persistent misnaming and sending out virused stock, I have concluded 
that the Dutch bulb industry is (to coin a phrase) a bunch of crooks. I admire 
the Dutch in many ways, but not in this regard.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate
on beautiful Vancouver Island


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