Article: The Alien Echinacea : Disease

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Image The Alien Echinacea
By starlight1153 on August 2, 2010

Have you ever had a plant that you expected to grow up, perform and bloom like the picture it was represented of when you bought it, only to find out you have something totally different. Not only different but totally alien looking? This is a story of an Echiancea that is growing and seems not to realize what it is doing is abnormal. Come take a look for yourself....

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Aug 2, 2010 7:49 PM CST
Name: Clint Brown
Medina, TN
aka Echinaceamaniac
Isn't this Aster Yellows disease? It looks like it to me.
Aug 2, 2010 8:48 PM CST
Name: Karen
Valencia, Pa.
I wondered about that, too.

I have some oddball ones that were supposed to be Doppelganger. I started them from seed a few years ago. Every year I wonder if they're coming down with aster yellows, but it seems not. They just make weird flowers, have never had that perfect cute hat that the catalogues show in their pictures.

They look like this when they bloom
Thumb of 2010-08-03/kqcrna/bac6a2

Aug 2, 2010 10:25 PM CST
Name: starlight1153 Zone 8a/b
She has had her plant living in the ground for over a year now and I thought about it possibly having Aster Yellows that when she first asked me about her plant. I know she has had more problems this year with bugs at her place than normal.

Clint.... It very well be a good possibility, but from all that I have seen and read of that disease, I can't totally match the symptoms. I know the pictures are not the best, but I am sure with all the Echie's you grow, you may have come across the disease. What are you possibly seeing that I am not?

She doesn't have the yellowing leaves. She doesn't have any distortion and/ or twisting of the leaves or the petals around the bloom. The proliferations are not small and staying in the modified small leaf form close to the center, they have totally developed a stalk and a complete bloom that has a complete ring of blooms and again these are not distorted in anyway.

A few years back I had to do a research paper on some aspect in a plant that I had seen. The basis of my paper was how in Daylilies, Hemerocallis that the filaments and anthers turn into petals forming a double bloom.

In my research I discovered that this morphing was in probability caused by the MADD gene. This is a gene that can morph one plant part into something totally different. This gene has to be turned on for the morph to occur.

This is a hypothosis, but what I think may be going on with her plant. It was a hybrid developed from other other hybrids, so you have a lot of other recessed genes being brought into play just to get the green bloom color, which is not a natural color to begin with in Echinacea.

We don't know exactly which part of the plant that the tissue cells were taken from, but I do know the MADD gene does affect reproductive parts and her prolif's have developed in the the Echie's reproductive parts.

How many anthers and filaments an Echinacea has I don't know. I haven't dissected one apart. Maybe somebody else has, but I imagine it may have a count of six which would explain why each of her blooms is developing 6 proliferations.

It will be very interesting to see how this plant develops, whether it is being caused by a disease or not.

Another hypothesis would be that she had the original plug, last year when it bloomed it did produce some seed, her original plant died and what she now has is a seedling showing a characteristic from the recessed gene of the 'Green Jewel' and another echie that crossed with. Then again, she could have a true sport. I didn't think to have her get down and get a closeup of the base of the plant.

Karen... Your seedling is cute. Since 'Doppelganger' is a hybrid, I wouldn't expect you to maybe have a seedling like the mom, but you sure have to give the little baby some credit , it sure tried. I like it.

One of the things I am waiting to see, is if the cones still produce seed or not. I really don't expect it too, but you just never know what is going to happen. If it should produce seed they are definitely going to be grown out to see what sprouts and blooms.

Aug 11, 2010 12:36 AM CST
the blooms do resemble the ones shown in this article....

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