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Saturday - March 29, 2008

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Fasciation in Houston.
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

I live in Houston and have had a rather large flower garden for many years. Most of the flowers are just gorgeous but over the last two or three years I have noticed that occasionally some of the flowers spout out with deformed blossoms. White Shasta Daisy is one example. In totally different parts of the yard I have seen them spout with two yellow centers attached back to back with deformed white petals and the stalk is shaped like a ribbon instead of a stem. I donít know what could cause that. Also, a few of my purple coneflowers have spouted with green petals instead of purple petals or with a mixture of green/purple petals. This year I noticed that some of my yellow wildflowers (sorry I donít know the name) (itís a yellow wildflower that bushes out and has many blossoms on one bush) anyway I noticed that even on the same bush, some of the blossoms have yellow petals and some have green petals and also some of the green petaled ones are deformed. Have you ever heard of this before? Thank you in advance for your opinion about what could possibly have cause this and what I can do to remedy it.

ANSWER:

This sounds like a case of fasciation, a plant developmental anomaly in which it appears that stems, flowers, leaves and/or fruits have been fused. It is uncertain whether it is genetically determined or caused by disease or some other sort of trauma to the plant. It does appear that there may be an inheritable tendency toward fasciation that may be triggered by environmental conditions such as temperature, crowding, insect attack, disease or wounding of the plant. Some fasciation may be caused by bacterial or viral infections. Fasciation bacteria survive on infected plants and debris and they spread in water and through wounds. If bacteria is to blame, the solution is good sanitation and use of pathogen-free plants. The University of Californi Integrated Pest Management website reccomends you "Avoid injuring the base of plants, especially when plants are wet. Keep the base of plants dry. To control fasciation to all potential causes, do not propagate or graft symptomatic plants. Remove and dispose of infected plants, or prune and dispose of distorted tissue and do not proagate from those plants." Here is a photo of fasciation in Texas Bluebonnet.

 

 

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