Broken Tulips
Thu, 15 Apr 2010 14:35:05 PDT
Ben, Jan, Jim et al,  The various comments are very interesting and thank you, however I have no alternative but to work on the precautionary principle given that here at ABG we have assumed responsibility for the ex situ conservation of the genus Lilium. EVERYTHING we grow now is derived from seed, mostly wild origin provenance material however where occasional donations of bulbs, bulbils or scales of rare a rare taxon are donated these are grown under quarantine several miles away from the gardens until they produce seed; after two or more seed 'crops' these bulbs are then either destroyed or given to others for whom the risks of virus contamination may not be so potentially damaging. The phytosanitary situation here is 100% clean [so far] and I hope this can be maintained, not easy but we have the advantage that many of the alternative hosts crops either are not grown e.g tobacco or cumber or they cannot be grown for climatic reasons, coupled with the fact that we are in an extensive area of our native natural boreal forest ecosystem and there are no gardeners who grow potential problem hosts therefore the possibilities to maintain this status are jealously protected. I was approached by a major Dutch company requesting we grow lilies under contract but their crop is based entirely on hybrids with an almost certainty that some of the implicit clonal material we would be expected to work with would be contaminated. They were turned down flat which came as a great surprise "but there is good money in it, and we can save on costs shipping to and from China of bulbs and cut flowers by air freight". It beggars belief that some people never learn because as my researches have shown the phyto situation e.g. in Holland is so bad now, coupled with the high nitrate and other chemical pollutions in ground water there it seems that cause and effect connections just haven't been made or even worse they have been made and nobody there cares too much as lone as the money rolls in, environmental issues can go hang themselves. Oregon Bulb farms historical situation on a national scale it seems.

On a related topic the Scottish government's Agriculture and Fisheries department circulated various folk like us last autumn with an Advisory Notice that due to the corruption in China in respect to the issuing of Phytosanitary certificates from that country they have named five or six 'sources' from which material entering this country and other parts of the EU will no longer be accepted even if presumably the shipment is apparently accompanied by a gold plated Phyto. A couple of years back I requested from one Chinese source, a name not unfamiliar to those others interested in geophyte material, that I would require future shipments, if ordered, that they would be accompanied by a Phyto, and was re-assuringly told "no problem I can buy any of these I need", quod et demonstrandum or some such Latin mantra. Buyer beware and caveat emptor never had more relevance from certain quarters. That situation coupled with failure, deliberate or from ignorance in terms of identifying material correctly results needless to say for a few years now nothing more comes from that source to many other former European customers, the sound of rapidly retreating feet amongst contacts in England and elsewhere suggests much the same experiences. Perhaps, one can but hope, this problem can be resolved but I rather think not soon.


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