I was pondering today about the human body and plants.I got to thinking and have been noticing that my Wild seed seems to do better than seed that I have purchased. At least over the period of 5 years. Has anyone ever thought that plants may have the ability to make themselves immune to disease if they are exposed to it from their first year.And can pass that on to their seed.The human body has white blood cells to fight infections and such so why would plants not have the same god given defense.My theory is that plants that have been sprayed with chemicals to prevent disease don't have the immunization to pass on to their seeds.Anyone have any input on this?
I've pondered this a little. While I still had a pure wild strain, it did seem to be a little hardier than some of the more southern and eastern varieties I had. However, I've learned much more since then too. The seed I plant and sell is northern seed. I’ve had excellent results with it in wild simulated settings. My first patch has been reproducing naturally since it was about 6 years old. I see very little if any disease in it at all. The plants I have moved here to the house from that planting have full berry pods which are still fully green.
I guess the question I have is if a plant in a new area can obtain some disease resistance independently. In other words, can a single plant achieve resistance to some parasitic organisms or must that resistant trait be passed on genetically to a new generation before it is manifest. I'm betting on the former with enhanced resistance to the progeny.
Remember, the last couple years were not the years in which one should be judging the seed producing ability of any strain of ginseng. So far so good this year. Plenty of moisture and the temps have not been hot enough long enough to cause the issues we saw two years ago I wouldn't think. I'm optimistic that the price of seed might moderate some next year as the supply starts to catch back up.
I really don't know much about plant immune systems, but it stands to reason that if you collect the seed from your most healthy and productive plants each year, it could be beneficial towards establishing strain of plants resistant to local pathogens. Probably more importantly, is simply establishing the right conditions (if possible) for your plants to grow. I suspect, like anything else, weak ginseng plants are more susceptible to any disease in general, regardless of genetics.
There has been a lot of research and documentation showing that mycorrihzal associations with plants in their environments are also big factors in disease control and prevention. The literature for crop species that I have seen suggests prevention of root and leaf diseases. This is probably a big reason why transplants only fair so so and are more susceptible to disease after they are moved. It would be hard to imagine how plants wouldn't develop disease resistence over time in the wild or in naturalized patches. With patches being isolated and genes generally staying within a population it would make sense. I rarely ever see disease in wild populations, even when they are growing all over each other at densities greater than some wild sim. patches I have seen. Disease in planted wild sim. patches is probably seed borne. Dispite bleach treatments or sprays disease can still be contained within the seed kernel protected by the hull. So there is a disadvantage there, but if given enough time the strongest most disease resistant plants will be the ones left standing I think.
I have never seen mature wild plants in a large tight spaced group. Maybe 8 to 12 inches apart. I have seen some mature plants that have a few three leafers close to them but I figure they must die out before they become mature seed bearing plants.I have wild simulated plants planted at the same time 8 years ago some are large enough to harvest. And some have roots the size of 1/4 of a pencil. These plants are 10 inches apart .I guess a lot of it has to do with the seeeds parents.Cause the soil is the same and the locations are so close to each other.It is a strange plant indeed.I transplant any small plants that are to close to a mature plant every fall. I feel this helps them get a better start,I also have goldenseal plants scattered out in my beds.I lose more to the deer than anything I think.I noticed several wild plants last year that had places in their stalk that appeared to have something like a worm in them.