Leo Martin stnalpsoel@gmail.com
Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:59:45 PDT
> Yes, I guess the citrus police wouldn't want you to have a Poncirus. It
> is a lovely plant, though.
> The worst interaction I ever had with the plant police was a few years
> back on my way into the Burning Man Festival in the barren high desert
> of northern Nevada. We had two good-sized potted banana trees with us,
> which were intended to sit out in front of our campsite and look
> ornamental. The Federal Bureau of Land Management police are in charge
> of those public lands, and they wanted to confiscate the banana plants
> so that the banana seeds would not get loose and  invasively naturalize,
> making a banana jungle on the high, waterless alkali flats. My daughter
> tried with all her might to convince them that if seeds could ever
> sprout there, there would already be a dense marijuana plant cover. We
> finally managed to keep the banana plants through some fast talking and
> complex phone calls to officials and paperwork that was entirely bogus...
> No plants at all grow on the Black Rock Desert, no bananas, no
> marijuana, not even Poncirus.

Anything in Rutaceae seems able to carry yellow shoot disease of citrus,
caused by a bacteria that lives in the phloem of affected plants. This
arrived in Miami in the late 1990s. The vector, a leafhopper, has been in
North America since the 1600s, probably introduced with the tropical mock
orange Murraya.

Unless some practical cure is found much of the citrus industry in the US
will go away. So there is a quarantine against bringing anything in
Rutaceae into the US, as well as quarantines on moving citrus between
states. Nurseries able to grow citrus for interstate sale need to grow them
in double-walled screen houses able to exclude the leafhopper. The
bacterium probably is able to infect seeds.


As for the banana plants - the least parsimonious explanation is the
inspectors wanted the plants for themselves.

Leo Martin
Zone 9?
Phoenix Arizona USA

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