Unusual Hybrid Sparaxis

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Thu, 13 Jun 2013 07:07:14 PDT
I sent off Sparaxis that looked like the one in the photo and was 
told it was virused. At the same time I sent another one that was a 
solid yellow color and was told it was virused as well. I never got a 
report or for that matter a bill, but someone from the lab spoke to 
me on the phone and gave me a verbal report. Both clumps seemed to 
grow quite well in spite of being virused. It made me wonder if most 
of the Sparaxis that are offered in garden centers could be virused 
without anyone being aware this was so. I have since then seen 
Sparaxis in gardens with the break in the color pattern. At the same 
time I sent those in for testing I sent in something that looked 
suspicious to me and it was fine. It left me feeling that it may be 
challenging to tell by looking what is virused.

We have often been told on this list that there are some plants that 
grow with virus but the problem is that the virus from them may 
spread (by insects or tools) to other plants and they may not do as well.

I agree with John that nature's hybridization of Sparaxis can produce 
some stunning flowers. We once saw a field of them that Terry Hatch 
in New Zealand was growing letting the bees do the work. It was the 
days before digital cameras and we ended up taking loads of photos in 
spite of using all that film.

Mary Sue

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