Adaptation and Interactions

Let's start with the most pressing issue: how does hyacinth react with humans? The answer: not well. Hyacinth produces oxalic acid, as seen pictured to the left. Oxalic acid is dangerous if ingested -- the bulb itself is where the oxalic acid is the most concentrated, but traces can be found on the petals, which puts those who handle hyacinth at risk of contact dermatitis. The production of oxalic acid is believed to be an adaptation, as the plant would otherwise be eaten by small rodents. However, the acidic properties of the flower prevent it from being chosen as a meal (or, if it is, it will severely harm its consumer). If a small amount is ingested in humans, stomach upset may occur. I don't recommend testing this theory; in other words, "Kids, don't try this at home." 

Interactions with viruses
    Hyacinth is known to be affected by many viruses. In research done at the Plant Virus Laboratory at the Institute of Botany in Lithuania, researchers identified four main viruses that infect Hyacinthus orientalis L.: Hyacinth mosaic potyvirus (HyMV), Tobacco rattle tobravirus (TRV), Arabis mosaic neprovirus (ArMV), and Tobacco necrosis necrovirus (TNV). HyMV is known to be a widespread pathogen in hyacinth and it showed mottle on leaves, varying in color from pale green to bright yellow and consisting of spots and ring patterns. TRV left leaves and stalks with pale green to yellow spots and stripes that in some cases turned grey or brown as time progressed. ArMV infected hyacinth showed pale brown stripes and spots with distorted leaves. TNV-infected hyacinth presented with pale brown stripes, narrowed leaves, and in some cases no flowering. Another experiment conducted showed Fusarium rot ("water-soaked, irregular lesions") caused by Gibberella zeae.


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