Broken Tulips

J. Agoston
Tue, 13 Apr 2010 13:48:52 PDT
Ian and All,

There are at least 8 or 10 kinds of viruses which are tested at the field in
the Netherlands, altough there are always latent infections. My colection of
over 150 varieties is now thrown avay because of various infections. CMV (=
Cucumber Mosaic Virus), TBV (Tulip Breaking Virus), LMV (Lily Mottle Virus),
LSV (Lily Simptomless Virus), AMV (Arabis Mosaic Virus) are the most common.
TBV is infectious even in 1000× dilution. I've found Lily Mottle Virus in
wild collected Glanthus nivalis. I also have Onion streak and leek yellow
streak in my Alliums. CMV is very polyphagous it has around 800-1000 hosts.
I've also seen infections in Narcissus and Ipheion, Anemone, Paeonia,
Muscari, Hyacinthus, Lilium, Crocus, Iris, Dracunculus, Arum, Cyclamen.
These were a kind of leaf mosaic and who knows how many more latent
infections are there.

Paeonia Itoh-hyb 'Yellow Crown' is, we can say 100% virus infected. I was in
the dutch fields and all had mosaic.

In the first 3 years I was selecting out the infected tulips, but I could't
stopped it, the aphids came and the virus spreaded. And thanks to the
neighbours who say "what a nice broken tulip, we don't discard it" (it is my
returning nightmare) all my effort was insufficient. The virus reservoir is

It is quite disappointing that my plant collection turned into a virus
collection, that is why I stopped.

I think it is advisable to buy from specialised nurseries with good
reputaion, even if the plants are 2-5× expensive than at other places and
grow plants from seeds where it is available. But don't think you have
solved the problem, you can still have infections from nematodes, aphids and
by cutting the stems. Some viruses spread by soil or with your clothes.
These are mainly tobacco viruses, and only a few can spread with soil or
contaminated clothes. Luckily most viruses are not able to spread by seeds,
or with pollen. Growing bulbs from seeds are 100% virus free if you don't
have a reservoir plant in the near.


2010/4/13 <>

> A word of caution for those not aware of the potential problem with
> varieties or species of Tulipa with so-called 'broken' colouration. These
> plants are highly toxic virus reservoirs whose presence in the company of
> Lilium at least and probably some Fritillaria may be the reason for their
> rapid demise. Growing them together is not advisable if avoidable.  Just a
> thought.
> Iain
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