Virused Bulbs

Nathan Lange
Mon, 07 Apr 2014 12:31:16 PDT

When trying to decide whether or not to discard a suspected virus 
infected plant, keep in mind that there is a tremendous amount of 
misinformation out there. I have seen and heard about a number of 
very bad recommendations concerning plants suspected of having virus. 
Most variegated plants are not the result of viral infection (of 
course, there are certainly many examples of ones that are caused by 
virus). To the untrained eye, many nutrient deficiencies in monocots 
can mimic the appearance of virused plants. For good examples, look 
up some of the many pictures available online of nutrient 
deficiencies in corn. Petal variegation is most frequently 
misdiagnosed as virus in origin, probably because many people have 
heard about tulip breaking virus. There's even a photo of a pink 
Sparaxis flower on the PBS wiki that is likely misdiagnosed as being virused:…
The diagnosis on the orange Sparaxis is also suspect. Many 
misdiagnosed variegated petal patterns such as these are likely the 
result of harmless transposons.

Heat is known to suppress the appearance of some viral symptoms in 
plants. For example, on more than one occasion I have received Crinum 
bulbs through the BX from peolple living in much warmer summer 
climates than where I live. The resulting plants exhibited severe 
viral symptoms as soon as they leafed out and I promptly destroyed 
them. Given the sources, its extremely unlikely they knowingly sent 
these infected bulbs to the BX.


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