Page 1 of 6 • 1 2 3 4 5 6
Views: 31125, Replies: 103 » Jump to the end
Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
Image
Gina1960
Feb 3, 2020 8:42 PM CST
So, I was hanging out and lurking on Facebook where I saw a discussion by some aroid peeps about Birkin. I did not join in, because, I do not HAVE a Birkin. But I did glean some relevant information for those of you who do have one. AND for those of you who may be contemplating whether you want to drop any large coin on one.

Birkin is a sport (a spontaneous chimeric mutation) of the most unlikely plant....Rojo Congo. It was separated off the mother plant and propagated and seemed to be relatively stable. So now, ALL of the Birkins on the market are being produced in CHINA by tissue culture. Which is why those cheap liner plants have been showing up in places like ETSY.

There have been some very interesting reversions happen with this plant. Some start making all green leaves. Some start making all white leaves. Some will throw a bona fide ROJO CONGO red or green totally different shaped leaf every now and then. Some have produced leaves that are variegated like the splashed portion of a variegated Monstera, instead of the linear variegation. There have been leaves that have cream/green/white coloration like a Philodendron Ring of Fire. They had several interesting photos of some of these variations.

It seems pretty clear that this plant is unstable. It may last in the form you bought it in, or it may turn into something else altogether. Reversion is a real possibility. It was pointed out that there are no photos of specimens of larger older Birkins that are still variegated being shown anywhere. Some people were questioning whether it was a similar case like the Pink Congo (the philodendron that was found to have been treated with some chemical that made the leaves pink, then when it wore off the plant turned green...they were extravagantly expensive before this scam was exposed).

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Why don;t those of you who have them post baseline photos here, and then photos over time, so everyone can follow along and see what happens with yours?
Award winning beaded art at ceinwin.deviantart.com!
Name: Thomas
Western Europe
Region: Europe Aroids Ferns
Image
flashy_lights
Feb 4, 2020 1:16 AM CST
I'm pretty sure they're also being produced in large numbers by tissue culture in the Netherlands. They're sold for about €15 in big chain garden stores. I got a smaller one for €3 that had no variegation yet, it's handling my neglect pretty well.
Thumb of 2020-02-04/flashy_lights/f0965a

Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
Image
Gina1960
Feb 4, 2020 6:32 AM CST
Thomas someone else said that they thought they were being TC'd in New Zealand! Maybe China doesn't have a monopoly. I am going to ask permission to show the people's photos of some of the weirder leaves these have thrown
Award winning beaded art at ceinwin.deviantart.com!
Ohio
Mariedorer
Feb 4, 2020 7:58 AM CST
So interesting how this process works and the prices people are willing to pay for something so little is known about.
Hirts had a nice size one in a six inch pot (so still not that big), the verigation was beautiful! I had never seen one, or even heard about it- I must be way out of the loop lol.
I should've taken a picture of it. It was $100 so I didnt bother looking at it much longer.
Name: Adrienne
Ohio (Zone 6b)
Adriennevs
Feb 4, 2020 12:25 PM CST
This kind of bums me out because I did want a birkin but I have three large Congos and don't want to accidentally end up with another one. Not that it would be a bad thing. i love them enough to have three but I don't need a fourth.
Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
Image
Gina1960
Feb 4, 2020 12:51 PM CST
I got permission to post this photo. This is wild, huh?
Thumb of 2020-02-04/Gina1960/3c518c

Award winning beaded art at ceinwin.deviantart.com!
Ohio
Mariedorer
Feb 4, 2020 1:34 PM CST
What in the world!

Oh no! Some people are going to be really upset, and rightfully so!
Name: Adrienne
Ohio (Zone 6b)
Adriennevs
Feb 4, 2020 2:10 PM CST
I'm not even sure what to say about that.
Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
Image
Gina1960
Feb 4, 2020 5:31 PM CST
There are others. I didn't get permission to post these yet but...they put them on FACEBOOK so they are already out there for anyone to see. None of these are my photos or plants.
Thumb of 2020-02-04/Gina1960/9c28d0


Thumb of 2020-02-04/Gina1960/d02641


Thumb of 2020-02-04/Gina1960/800d32

The discussion said there were many cases of weird aberrations
Award winning beaded art at ceinwin.deviantart.com!
Name: Adrienne
Ohio (Zone 6b)
Adriennevs
Feb 4, 2020 5:39 PM CST
What strange leaves. I don't even know what I'd do if I spent so much on a plant and it started putting out leaves like that.

pbgarden
Feb 4, 2020 9:24 PM CST
How strange is this to see the single Congo leaves on these plants. I just joined this forum tonight. I do have two recently purchased tissue culture baby Birkins. They are very small right now ( planted in 5" pots) but the one on the left is starting to show some lines. I am thankful that I payed very little for these plants.
Thumb of 2020-02-05/pbgarden/3166ec

Name: Adrienne
Ohio (Zone 6b)
Adriennevs
Feb 4, 2020 10:06 PM CST
Welcome!
Your plants are adorable!
Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
Image
Gina1960
Feb 5, 2020 7:14 AM CST
Welcome @pbgarden! We hope you will hang out with us! We are a small but dedicated band of aroiders!

I am not an expert on tissue culture by ANY means, but I have read some about it because after all, most of the commercially available plants are tissue cultures and have been for decades. (Makes you wonder why most endangered plants are endangered, huh? Maybe because they only produce what the market says is in demand. After all its TOO SLOW to propagate the old fashioned way...no MONEY in it)

But to my understanding, when a hybrid plant is tc'd, especially a variegated one, all of the genetic parents of that plant are present in what is called 'the culture'. One specimen may have a higher proportion of the genetic material of one plant somewhere way down the breeding line (many hybrid philodendrons and anthuriums are the product of very complex 'breeding lines' with generational crosses going back 5-10 plants), another plant may have a higher proportion of another. Most professional hybridizers and careful to keep track of all their crosses and perform the pollinations under sterile conditions, but not all. And most have enough working knowledge of the ploidy (the chromosomal matches) of different species to know which would tend to mesh seamlessly with each other, but not all. (some anthurium species in different sections will NOT cross pollinate, because their chromosomes are of a different number and don't match. Others will, but the resultant progeny can be highly variable and prone to odd quirks, like Anthurium Marie). And there has never been a successful extrageneric hybrid made between Anthurium and Philodendron.

And when these plants are 'grown out', they can either immediately express this genetic disproportion, or they may not express it at all. Or they may express it later, which seems to be what is happening in Birkin.

I know enough about hybridizing to know that when you cross two different species plants via the old fashioned method, (or hybrid plants) there can be a high degree of variability in the resultant progeny. This is how many new plants are 'discovered'....sometimes a single seedling will be seen to exhibit differences that are marked enough to warrant putting that one aside and propagating it by the old fashioned vegetative method, to see if the 'je ne said quo' sticks. If it does, they will patent that 'new, unique' plant and produce it. This also happens in batches of TC plants...sometimes an odd duck pops out.

I read also a long time ago that the reason it was so hard to tissue culture variegated monstera was that a high proportion of the seedlings turned out green because the original plants were all green, or only slightly variegated, and reverted, so that the process for a while was thought to not be applicable to reproducing that particular plant. The argument was that this is why they are so expensive, because they could only be reproduced by stem cuttings because the seeds do not produce variegated babies.

That seems to have been solved now, as the VM is in TC in numerous European and Asian TC houses and is being sold very cheaply overseas. If Costa Farms jumps on the bandwagon here, the price should drop dramatically. I also heard through the aroid grapevine that they have already had one total batch failure due to contamination, do not know if that is true but it resulted in the loss of an entire crop apparently.
Award winning beaded art at ceinwin.deviantart.com!
Name: Kay
Houston, TX (Zone 9b)
Image
kathyoven
Feb 5, 2020 1:23 PM CST
I currently have 3 birkins!

My two newest ones:
Thumb of 2020-02-05/kathyoven/7529e5

One of the leaves from one of them:
Thumb of 2020-02-05/kathyoven/ced4cf

This one was at the nursery! I didn't buy it tho
Thumb of 2020-02-05/kathyoven/02f994
Ohio
Mariedorer
Feb 5, 2020 1:28 PM CST
Beautiful Kathy! It's so interesting. You'll have to keep us posted if they stay birkins! Crossing Fingers!

I'd love to find a cheap one and see how it develops.
Name: Adrienne
Ohio (Zone 6b)
Adriennevs
Feb 5, 2020 4:08 PM CST
I'm just going to throw out that I have no deep understanding whatsoever of tissue culture. I watched a video in which the lady was talking about how she loves her rhaphidophora tetrasperma "even though it's a TC" and she has another RT that's not TC and notices no differences in the plants.
Is TC sort of frowned upon?
Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
Image
Gina1960
Feb 5, 2020 6:29 PM CST
Her plant that is 'not TC' probably really IS TC and she just doesn't know it. If she got a cutting from anyone in this day and time who did not find it growing out in the wild, of a collector who has had their plant for less than maybe 30 years...her plant is probably a TC plant.

In the past, like maybe 15-20 years ago? Sometimes it was noticed that ***some*** TC plants were seemingly not as vigorous as plants raised the old fashioned way. One case was the Siam Red banana. This was at the time when the Ae Ae banana (Musa paradisica) was in huge demand. The siam red was beautiful as well and much less costly because it was being TC'd. But people began to notice that they often had trouble with them. They would grow for a while then just poop out. It became enough of an issue that the plant dropped out of popularity. I will have to do a google search, but I don;t think its even available much anymore.

Large scale growers love TC plants because they are cheap, their investment is small on a comparative basis. The liner trays generally come with 80 tiny plants to a tray. The cost per plant is often less than $1. So you could get, say, 80 Philodendron Prince of Oranges for $0.75 each, grow them up to small plants, sell the small plants for $7.50 wholesale, make 10 times your investment. The plant shop/box store/ nursery then marks the wholesale price up 100%, sells the plant for $15. 100% markup is the industry standard. Its across the board. When I raised plants for a local nursery here to resell, if I sold them a container of Musa velutina for $10, they automatically marked it up to $20. So when you drop $100 on a Birkin, the seller bought it for $50 or less. Because they will play with that 100% and mark up more if the plant is an 'it' plant that is in high popularity and demand at the moment.

The TC labs promote their product as 'virus and disease free' and 'clean' etc, as if plants propagated by division or raised from seed are somehow 'dirty'.
Award winning beaded art at ceinwin.deviantart.com!
Name: Adrienne
Ohio (Zone 6b)
Adriennevs
Feb 5, 2020 8:14 PM CST
So basically a plant can have several different names, sometimes just a reintroduced name to make it look like a "new" or "rare" specimen (so we never really know what we actually have) AND it could be a tissue culture that we never even knew we had!? Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
What a tangled web!
It really does make me think of what you said about the possibility of using tissue culture for real rare and endangered plants. I hope somebody skilled gets around to that one of these days Sad

pbgarden
Feb 5, 2020 10:48 PM CST
Thank you for the warm welcome to the group, I can tell I will be learning a lot and really enjoying this forum. I find this topic very interesting as I also know very little about tissue culture. Thanks for sharing the wealth of knowledge on the subject. I was wondering if you were to remove the new growth that is reverting would it stop it from reverting? And then could you possibly propagate what you removed and have a totally different plant? Is it very common to hear of of plants reverting?
Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
Image
Gina1960
Feb 6, 2020 7:08 AM CST
You know that is how many sports turn into new plants. Anyone can take a sport off a plant (TC labs 'select out' plants all the time that they see different characteristics in, and propagate those plants separately, to see if they can get the new characteristic to stick so to speak and be stable). If they can achieve stability over generations they will often patent and market the plant as a cultivar. Almost all of the Alocasia reginula on the market today are from a seedling selected out by Agristarts and grown under the name 'Black Velvet'. The species plant is only available in the wild, at botanical gardens in some places, and in the private collections of people who were growing this plant prior to it being produced by TC labs. If a backyard gardener finds a sport and is able to do the same thing through vegetative propagation, that person can pay the fee to register it as a cultivar and have rights to it. If they choose to they can patent it, or, they can sell it to a TC lab and that lab will patent it mass produce it and market it and sell it. The original grower gets a royalty (supposedly) on every single unit of plant sold. But I know some professional ginger growers who have done this and not been paid what they are supposed to be paid.

Yes, reversion is unfortunately always a threat. A lot of variegation is caused by a spontaneous genetic mutation. And just as a plant can express the mutation, the mutation can also be transient.

I did a researched thread on variegation on the Variegated Plants forum titled What is Variegation that explains the different types of chimeric variegation. Whether the mutation sticks depends on how many cellular layers it affects. I have a friend who works as an aroid curator at a botanical garden, and he is fond of saying, 'Reversion is only a mutation away' and it is very true. I had a variegated Monstera that I bought years ago at Home Depot...it was a chance find, in a large batch of all green plants. No one had noticed that' this one is different'. Mainly because the variegation was not very strong and only on a few leaves. It reverted. I bought a variegated Anthurium vittarifolium...it reverted. Variegated ALocasia macrorhizza can be highly variable, you can have all green offsets come off of very highly variegated parent plants.
Award winning beaded art at ceinwin.deviantart.com!

Page 1 of 6 • 1 2 3 4 5 6

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Philodendrons, Elephant Ears, and Other Aroids forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by lauriemorningglory and is called "A Day for a Daisy"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.