The Truth about Saffron

Rodger Whitlock
Tue, 01 Nov 2005 14:46:35 PST
On  1 Nov 05 at 11:35, Jim McKenney wrote:

> ...let's assume you subscribe to the old concept of clone,
> i.e. clone as the group name for all of the vegetatively
> propagated progeny of one original seedling. Is saffron crocus
> a clone in that sense? Apparently, but there is no way to be
> absolutely sure.
> Next, let's assume you subscribe to the modern media concept
> of clone, i.e. clone as a group characterized by absolute
> (genetic) uniformity.

The latter concept is at odds with the original concept of
clone. It seems presumptuous for the semantic bandits to have
hijacked a term devised by an extraordinarily astute student
of cultivated plants, someone who had more knowledge of
cultivated plants in his little finger than most everybody
else has in their brains.

> Triploids sometimes result from crosses of related species.
> Another famous triploid crocus is the Dutch Yellow, a hybrid
> of, probably, Crocus flavus and C. angustifolius. 

No probably to it. From Mathew "The Crocus" (1982), p.94:

"Cytological investigations into 'Golden Yellow' and its 
supposed parents have been made at Kew by C.A. Brighton and C. 
J. Scarlett (1980) and they confirm that it is indeed a sterile 
triploid derived from these two species, wholly maintained by 
vegetative propagation."

[Mathew gives 'Dutch Yellow' and 'Yellow Giant' as synonyms 
for 'Golden Yellow'.]

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island

More information about the pbs mailing list