Origins of variegation

scigor at scigor at
Wed Dec 11 03:01:56 EST 1996

Years ago, while researching a dissertation topic, I studied the causes of
variegation.  This was in response to an article I read in a journal which
stated that a cultivar of _Peperomia obtusifolia_ had increased
variegation with decreasing light levels.
This flew in the face of what I had been taught, which was that plants
decreased variegation in their leaves to increase efficiency under low
light levels.  I later found that chimera-induced variegation was the
result of a mutation in the apical meristem and subsequent division during
leaf development.
However, what of virus-induced variegation?  How often is such variegation
natural, and how often artificial?  This came up recently while looking at
variegated cultivars of _Euonymus japonica_, where the variegation is lost
over time.  Was this a virus-induced variegation, and are there others,
and what can be done to maintain the variegation?
"...and then my heart with music fills, and dances with the daffodils." - Wordsworth

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