seed & plant importations
Tue, 27 Jan 2009 03:54:33 PST
Ref Mat Sues' recent posting about striking people off. Your approach and tolerance takes you close to sainthood me thinketh.

Ref the general subject of importations and exportations. I would not wish to comment as a non US citizen only to say that there is a very clear need to monitor and restrict pests and diseases being translocated around the world so readily now due to airfreight, the situation is truly frightening. As a former Forestry Consultant and Manager here in Scotland I am aware of quite a lot of background material in the literature and attend the annual Forest Commission Research meetings where all sorts of horror stories are brought to our notice. Phytophora sps have been with us widely but those which have newly arrived are doing untold damage not just in the western countries of Europe but also Sudden Oak death in the Pacific States of North America where whole forest ecosystems are irrevocably changing forever. Dutch Elm Disease, Great Spruce Bark Beetle and ever onwards.

Recently due to my work with Lilium I have been approached by a Dutch company which wants us to grow bulbs for them in our squeaky clean Phyto situation apparently because the conditions in Holland are so contaminated now with virus, diseases, ground water nitrates, etc, etc. Some companies have been shipping their hybrid bulbs to China growing them on there and returning the bulbs, cut flowers, and many other nasties piggy back here into Europe and from their hubs in Holland radiate out east west north and south within the EU without impunity however because we are in a free trade area individual countries such as Scotland are unable to embargo imp[orts and before long we will be as contaminated as everywhere else except with those pests which cannot sustain themselves through out winters. 

If anyone wants to see how egregious an example can be of environmental contamination and degradation can be associated with just one single genus ornamental crop can be then go and visit and read the report on the cleanup after the Oregon Bulb Farm went belly up. Just type in Oregon Bulb Farm, on Google it comes up as #'s 2 or 3 This report is written by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, I checked today, their report is dated 27th January 2009. It is mind boggling just how rapacious that former company operated, whether from true ignorance, or perceived necessity, in its use of chemicals. The whole point I am making is that these often highly toxic products were found "necessary" to treat viruses and diseases associated with lilies, in the main not one of which as I understand it, although I stand to be corrected, was native to the particular region of North America now know as Oregon and doubtfully it seems from my research to any areas contiguous with it on the eastern side of the Pacific, mostly all are endemic to the western [Asiatic] side. Admittedly there will always be the need to import plants, whether for research or commerical foundation stock, to do so without Phytosaniatary Certificates is abominably stupid and selfish even if admitting as i do that such docs are but a greased palm away and worth as much or less, using this route shows responsibility and if in doubt then quarantine, quarantine, quarantine, quarantine and treat appropriately with smoke, hot water and such few non toxic chemicals which remain available, not a lot admittedly but better than doing nothing.

Here at Auchgourish Botanic Garden we have the highest percentage of any European B.G. of wild origin material grown from seed, including the much vaunted Royal Botanic Gardens at both Edinburgh and Kew  [C.76%+) We have no disease or pests of which we are aware but don't know how long we can hold the line. If anyone is serious about their work, whether with geophytes or anything else, they cannot do better than work from seed, admittedly these will not help with inoculating the soils with appropriate 'aids to growth' and this is undoubtedly the slow route to production of flowers we all enjoy. However, if this route isn't always practical due to impatience or whatever, then set aside an area isolated from possible contamination of another and use it for quarantine; if this is not practical due to small area available to individuals or the proximity of neighbours, to who we all have a responsibility, then undertake sanitisation measures appropriate to the genus. Do nothing is not an option!  

For those lucky people in north America who do not yet have Lily beetle, be thankful, soon enough one of your neighbours will take a short cut, visit a regional show and bring it back for you. In that event, find another group of plants or break your heart.

If anyone wonders how much good and useful a service PBS can be and achieve for those "less in the know" then this is a topic which ranks very highly in the advisory stakes and probably carries more weight than publicity from those agency employees who are alleged to "lurch or lurk" on the margins of PBS, it is in effect what they are paid to do with your tax dollars, not mine. Aphis is admittedly in some parts of the US staffed by some poorly educated people on this and related topics at the front of house level as I found out but when a few years ago forced to approach their organ Grinder in Chief and making her aware of certain issues, the matter and the people were dealt with, however as a rough and ready Highland Celt not genetically predisposed to dealing with the so called civil service I would be the first to admit at blind anger and frustration at times, by all means rail, f an blind but don't do the shortcut smart ass stuff a previous poster hinted at on the Gulf coast. There be idiots in the jungle!


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