Relevance of Pokeweed to Bulbs

Kenneth Hixson
Tue, 16 Aug 2005 11:07:36 PDT
Alberto wrote:
>  a permanent potential source of all sorts of
>viruses to affect your bulbs. Besides, it remains to be demonstrated that
>the variegation is a true chimera and not a virus itself.

         Please excuse my ignorance--but, are the viruses which can
be carried in this plant the kinds that affect bulbs?  I assume I have
viruses in my body, but I don't worry that they will be transmitted to
my plants.  On the skin of my hands (if I smoked, for instance), yes,
but not viruses in my body.  HIV, or Aids, for instance, is not passed
on by casual contact but by transfer of a part of the body of the infected
individual.  The same is true with plants--first, a carrier must ingest the
virus from an infected pokeweed, then inject it into a susceptible bulb.
It may happen, but how often?
         Also, to the best of my knowledge, chimeras can not be grown
from parents which are chimeras--the seedlings would all be green
/unvariegated.  Chimeras are mixtures of tissue, and the reproductive
tissues usually arise from inner, unvariegated tissue.  Variegation
is not the same as a chimera, which may or may not be variegated.
         There are very few instances of viruses being passed from
parents to seed to seedlings.  It could happen, but is rare.
         To me, this indicates that the variegation is genetic.  Well,
I don't know everything, but without further facts.....
         One last comment:  I know people who refuse to grow certain
plants because they might host viruses--I myself do not grow the old
triploid tiger lily for that reason--or grow plants in screen cages or in
screened greenhouses.  More power to them, but that is not my garden,
nor do I ever expect it to be.  There are more plants in the world than
I can ever grow, so if a plant is unable to survive if exposed to the real
world, too bad.


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