What is a bulb?

AW awilson@avonia.com
Tue, 08 May 2012 00:24:02 PDT
Dear Dylan,

Your response to my comments contained several statements. I'll try to
respond to each of them. 

Because an epiphyte is not growing in soil as we conventionally think of it,
that does not mean that it obtains no nutrients from the epiphytic root
structure than it has developed. Where else can its nutrients have come
from? Its leaves, unlike those of some tillandsias, do not supply the plant
with most of its nutrients. Examine the humus (in nature, I mean, not on
your bench) in which the orchids we're talking about are growing. I'll grant
you that the mineral content is very low but it has all the nutrients needed
to feed the plant. It may not form a very thick layer but it's a soil, just
as the decayed vegetation of a forest is a soil. Its root structure creates
a matrix in which vegetation falling from above, gets lodged, decays and
feeds the roots. 

The next point your raised was that Nhu had argued that the cultivation
methods for terrestrial bulbs and and epiphytic orchids were radically
different. While the cultivation methods do indeed differ, they are not
radically different (no pun intended). Some of my bulbs are grown in a soil
mix used also for the orchids, and do well in it. In any case, since when
did the requirement for non-radically different methods of cultivation raise
its head in PBS? I should have thought this is the one feature that brings
together here so many diverse people!

Your last point was a non-technical one - Nhu's consideration to exclude
orchids because other groups take care of them. I can accept that as policy
if that is the policy adopted by PBS. As a policy it would need to be
declared somewhere, perhaps in the 'What is a Bulb' section.  

Regards, Andrew
San Diego   

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