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Yikes - what's up with my coneflower heads?

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Yikes - what's up with my coneflower heads?

Postby Jude Levett » Aug 01, 2012 3:22 pm

I was a past member and now I am back ... 'cause my coneflower heads look disgusting! They have either been beed-to-death (you know, those pesky little insects called bees?) or they have some major disgusting disease or fungus happening because they look totally fugly.

I have seen hundreds of bees on them this year along with many other insects and I am wondering if these coneflowers have been pollinated so much they are done! I actually took a picture of a coneflower head that had tiny minute little yellow flowers going all around the head and when I went back a few hours later, they were all gone. But some heads have huge big pod thingies on them and I broke one pod thingie apart to see if there were any insects inside it but saw nothing. If these individual pods are fertilized do they swell and become huge or what? I do have pictures but have not figured out how to attach them as of yet but I suppose I might be able to figure it out.

I did see a ladybug on one but honestly, they look totally disgusting. I never cut them back because I tie them up at the end of the growing season for the finches that go at them all winter so I hate to cut them off right now but ugh, they sure are fugly!

They look pretty sad this year because of lack of water and I am wondering if stress could be the culprit here?

Nice to be back,
Jude
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Jude Levett
 
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Re: Yikes - what's up with my coneflower heads?

Postby Jude Levett » Aug 02, 2012 8:48 am

So here's a pic of the nasty thingie ... what do you all think is the problem? Or is this natural? It sure looks ugly ...
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Jude Levett
 
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Re: Yikes - what's up with my coneflower heads?

Postby Katherine » Aug 03, 2012 12:39 am

That looks like a virus to me, BUT it could just be drought injury. If there are parts of the flower head that appear to have grown rather a lot in a strange way, it could be a virus, in which case I would cut back the flower heads, dont compost them, and watch it next year... but its possibly also drought injury. I dont like the look of the modified ray flowers...
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Re: Yikes - what's up with my coneflower heads?

Postby Jude Levett » Aug 08, 2012 6:58 pm

Hi,

Yep, they look absolutely horrible. There was two kinds of damage, the one I sent and then the inside part of the flowerhead was all brown and dry and ugly so I broke one apart and out popped a little whitish greenish worm thingie which according to the internet can be larvae of that silly little white butterfly that looks so damn harmless but in fact is a silly little white butterfly predator and is laying its eggs in the coneflower heads. Of course we know the rest - the thing is eating from the inside out and ugh ... horrible little squirmy thing.

But, I think I would agree that yes, this ugly thingie is a virus. I read a bit about nasties on the internet and they suggested to someone else who was having problems to cut all the infected heads off which I have done! Ugh, I could barely touch them they are so ugly but what virus could it be? I'll do some research on it on the internet and see what I can find!

Never had problems with these conflowers before but this year, two pests attacking them - geez, what a pain in the butt summer this has been eh? And no rain to boot ... and not much in the forecast as far as I can see.
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Re: Yikes - what's up with my coneflower heads?

Postby Jude Levett » Aug 08, 2012 7:14 pm

Katherine, it was easy to find ... the virus in question is aster yellows ... the pictues of the flowerheads look exactly like mine with what they describe as greening and proliferation of disk florets so I have to pull the whole plant up apparently but now I have cut the flowerheads off and won't know which plants to pull ... damn!

So thanks for the tip ... now I know what I am dealing with and it ain't pretty!

Jude
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