Virused Bulbs

Nhu Nguyen
Mon, 07 Apr 2014 08:21:10 PDT
On Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 8:59 AM, Jerald Lehmann <>wrote:

> Are any bulbs virused in habitat and have been brought into cultivation?
>  If so, is having that virused bulb really that bad?

In the wild, virused bulbs are weaker than their uninfected counterparts
and tend to be selected out. Therefore the chance of bringing a virused
bulb into cultivation although not impossible, is certainly rare.

As to if it's really bad to have virused bulbs? Absolutely!!

> And if a virused bulb can grow and bloom without any signs of loss of
> vigor, is having that virused bulb really that bad?

The problem is not with the asymptomatic plant or one without loss of
vigor, but the chance of it spreading to other plants in the collection.
The same virus may not be so bad in one species, but can destroy another.

> Viruses can almost come from just about anywhere, such as from the hands
> of tobacco users.
That's why we don't let anyone who smokes touch our plants or suggest that
they wash their hands well with soap and warm water before entering the
garden. It's a bit of a social strain, but keeping the collection free of
viruses is priority. We've lost some really old and amazing South African
bulbs due to viruses. Imagine having to dig up and throw out fully mature
Haemanthus nortieri, sanguineus, amarylloides, Brunsvigia herrei, Boophone
haemanthoides and other rare species! It was incredibly heart-wrenching but
had to be done. The plants were infected at some point and each year
produced smaller and smaller leaves and sicker looking plants.

One bad bulb can spoil the rest. You can read more about viruses and how to
keep your collection clean on the wiki Virus page:…


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