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Just Where Do Brugmansias Come From?

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Over the past few months, we’ve seen the proliferation of brugmansia buying, selling and trading reach a fever pitch. There’s no doubt that brugmansias are some of the loveliest plants you can add to your garden, so let’s take a look at how they become available to the general public.

Many brugmansia are grown right here in the United States. They’re bred from seed by nurseries, hobbyist gardeners and some professional hybridizers. Once the best of them are given individual names, those names are registered, and the new plants are made ready for sale via propagation by the hybridizer or individual grower. Many existing varieties are propagated from cuttings. Those plants freely pass from the hybridizers or individual nurseries to the public in a variety of ways. They are sold, traded or given away.

Other brugmansia are bred in other parts of the world. Some hail from South America. Others come from Europe. Unlike brugmansia bred here in the United States, brugmansia imported into the United States must go through a quarantine process for up to two years. This means that brugmansia that are legally imported are not permitted resale until they have spent time in quarantine at the nursery where they have been kept. During that period of quarantine, the plants are kept well away from other brugmansias at the nursery and they are inspected on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis by an agent from the Department Of Agriculture. If those plants are found to be disease free, the DOA allows their release for propagation, sale, or trade.

Why the quarantine process? Well, there’s a particularly nasty brugmansia virus that infects both brugmansia and datura. Its called CDV or Columbia Datura Virus. A plant infected with the virus displays an assortment of odd leaf characteristics and coloration, and the overall, ongoing health of the plant is compromised. There is no cure. The plant will never show the robust characteristics of a healthy plant: firm, even colored leaves without obvious and ongoing deformity, clear stems without lesions, healthy uptake of fluids and nutrients, etc. Even worse, plants that have not been quarantined, inspected and found officially healthy for sale may infect an entire, healthy collection of brugmansia.

And that is how brugmansias find their way into your garden!

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To see things in the seed. That is genius. - Lao Tzu