Thursday, May 7, 2009

Random plant event: Salvia 'Victoria Blue' freak

This just sort of appeared in one of the flats; I don't remember seeing any of the plugs looking like this when we were planting them up. It's not especially attractive, but it is different.


This may be a viral thing, in which case the prudent course of action would be to take it out and destroy it, but it doesn't seem to be hurting the plant significantly, either. I mean, maybe it's a little shorter than the plants around it, but that could be from anything.

If it weren't from a virus, but was instead an actual genetic mutation of some kind, would it be interesting to home gardeners? Would you want a six pack of them?


15 comments:

Claude said...

Interesting...

In many of the plants that you buy, variagation is caused by a virus. It's generally not life threatening. In others, it's genetic. Variagated plants also grow slower than their non-variagated varieties, their limited clorophyl stunts them a bit... I wouldn't get rid of it, but I'm not a huge variagated fan... some people are crazy for variagated plants, though. I'd probably separate that particular plant, and see what it does, but I'm the experimental type...

cherry said...

I would buy it at least once to see what it would do. I would love to see it again in the fall.

sheila said...

Hell, yes, I'd want it. I'm one of the variegated plant nuts!

Kenneth Moore said...

It looks creamy. Call it "Creamsicle." I'd buy it. Y'know. If it likes overattention.

John de said...

First thing I said when I saw the pic was "oooooohhhh"
I would definitely separate it from the rest and think about propagating some.

Anonymous said...

Ooooooooooooh, it's gorgeous!!! Wish they could make Variegated Salvia into a variety! I'd buy it. :)

--Perky Skeptic

Ivynettle said...

We had that happen with an Impatiens walleriana this year (I know, fucking Impatiens). I was all for potting it up separately and propagating it, but it seems the newest leaves are completely white, so we probably won't. (Or I won't - I'm one of the few people still young and new enough to be excited about such things.)

Piano Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Am said...

Re what Claude said - I never knew that! I am in shock. So variegated plants are actually "sick"??

But this explains why the variegated versions always grow slower than the non-variegated ones. I have observed this to be true.

I have never understood variegation for the sake of beauty.

mr_subjunctive said...

Not all variegation is the work of viruses: I covered one kind (periclinal chimeras) in the second part of the Sansevieria trifasciata profile. (Link)

Some kinds of variegation are viral in nature, though. I don't think it's as common as Claude made it sound, though I'll admit I've never investigated the matter very closely. I've heard rumors that the variegated Spathiphyllum, 'Domino,' is variegated due to a virus (which also causes the leaves to be a weird texture), though.

Like Claude said, the reason variegated plants grow more slowly than solid green ones of the same species is because they're less efficient: only the chlorophyll-containing parts of the plant are producing food from sunlight, but the genes are telling a variegated plant to be the same size as a non-variegated one, so it's going to a lot of trouble to build structures that don't actually do anything for the plant.

With plants that are variegated due to viruses, they'd grow even more slowly, because not only is there less chlorophyll, but some of the plant's energy is going toward making copies of the virus.

Claude said...

Oops, I mis-spoke, or mis-wrote, or mis-something or other...

In SOME of the plants, the variagation is caused by viral infection, but in MOST plants, it's genetic.

Two I know are viral are the variagated leaved columbines, which were fairly popular a few years ago, and the striped blooms of Batik iris. However, the striped leaves of variagated iris are genetic...


The virus's that cause variagation aren't contagious to other plants, and the plants aren't sick, just slower growing like the genetic mutations.

Sorry for spreading confusion...

Anonymous said...

Another variegation freak here. Plant guru, Jim Waddick, writes of a study done that found most variegation is not viral at all, but chimeral. It is also sometimes hereditary, as with variegated clivia (carried chiefly by the mother plant to the seeds). I recommend separating this salvia from the pack. The chances of getting rich off of a new cultivar are not high, but it would make a very nice plant to have. My best find is a self-sown splashed-pattern Oxalis regnellii with light pink flowers. I'm propagating it with the intent to offer it to a nursery for evaluation. Who knows what will become of it, but I'm happy to just to have it.

mr_subjunctive said...

I think technically, if we notice something like this, our agreement with our supplier requires us to contact them and say hey, we found this plant, and then we have to provide descriptions and photos and possibly samples to them if they ask, and then if they decide that it is something worth pursuing and propagating, they own the plant and all the credit and profit accrues to them. Which since plants also die, or get sold, or are thrown out by people who haven't been part of the discussion and thought the plant in question was diseased, or whatever, I'm not sure to what degree we're actually responsible for doing this, or what the punishment for not doing it is, or how they'd prove we had had something cool and violated our side of the agreement by throwing it away (unless they're reading the right blogs, I suppose). Also you have to admit it's not strong incentive to notice things, or speak up about it when one does.

I think really the point is just to make sure we know that if one of their plants does something cool, we aren't allowed to profit from it, and if we tried to propagate and patent it we'd never be permitted to make any money from it, because they could just sue us for the rights and take it and we'd have no recourse because we had to agree to that to get the plants from them in the first place.

This is part of the reason why I'm not a big fan of patented plants: even when you've bought them, they're still not yours.

Claude said...

Of course, any customer that comes in there and bought that plant is not bound by any agreement made between the supplier and the company you work for... because they never entered that agreement. Unless on the back of your receipt there's a sneaky little agreement printed, and even then the customer would have to sign it somewhere... maybe on the credit card receipts, but that might seriously annoy the credit card companies.

So, I suppose that technically, if you bought the plant as an individual for your own personal use, it becomes yours and is technically outside the agreement with the supplier, since the supplier sells plants to be resold. And this all seems an awful lot of trouble to go to for a plant that, quite frankly, you don't seem that impressed with. Now, if it was some mutant 100 dollar orchid plant that you could potentially make a killing on... it might be worth it...

And all this is assuming that this is just a regular plant... if this plant is a product of artificial genetic alteration, then the rules change, as a few farmers have discovered in Canada... those genes are patented. There are court cases where Genetically altered crops were planted in fields. These crops spread their genes, through their pollen, into a neighboring field, and the company decided that the neighbors crops now had their patented genes in the plants and the neighbors had to pay up... the lawsuits are continuing...

Sorry, I know paralegals and they work themselves into a tizzy over little details like this... I think it's catching.

Just ignore me...

Anonymous said...

I bought a hibiscus, and I love it, but I am forever trying to get the stupid bugs off of it. She has been making flowers non-stop for about a month and a half. She seems really happy, but I worry. I worry.
RMR