Friday, September 28, 2018

Tulip breaking virus

The oldest recorded plant virus disease, tulip breaking, was described by Dutch botanist Carolus Clusius in 1576 as a “viral" flower color breaking in tulips.

This virus disease appears as a stripping an somewhat irregular spotting of flowers, varying from yellowish to white: such variegation is known as “breaks”.

The de-pigmentation is effected after the original color of the flower has developed. Between the stripes and streaks appear patches of pure white or yellow. Both the sepals and petals are affected. Often this “broken” color is restricted to a pencilling of the margins and tops of the petals and sepals. All pink, red, and purple flowers develop striking color changes. Plants gradually weaken and should be destroyed to prevent spread to healthy tulips.

The virus is mechanically transmissible and can be passed on by the cutting knife, by binding together the halves of two bulbs, one of which is infected or by plugging the bulbs with infected tissues.
Tulip breaking virus
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