Rodger Whitlock
Sat, 08 Nov 2014 11:09:13 PST
On 7 Nov 2014, at 20:30, T O wrote:

> This brings to my mind a perplexing question. Dutch growers often retire
> certain cultivars that cease to grow well once the clones acquire too many
> viruses (King Alfred). Is it really possible that a single saffron clone
> could go on for thousands of years without acquiring too many viruses, or
> even just succumbing to old age? 

The "Giant Yellow" crocus, a hybrid between two yellow species that I forget 
the identities of, is still one of the strongest growing crocuses, though it's 
hundreds of years old. Going a little further afield, dahlia 'Bishop of 
Llandaff" is over a century old and still thriving.

At least some monocots appear to be immune or resistant to virus-induced loss 
of vigor, so why not the saffron crocus? I have no idea what mechanism lies 
behind this apparent immortality.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Z. 7-8, cool Mediterranean climate

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