One plant and 2 results

dave_worden(z9,San Jose, CA)July 16, 2004

Pelargonium and tomato plant:

2 separate plants in different locations but same situation

The pelargonium is approximately 7 years old from a cutting. One branch and the same branch each year produces distintly different flowers. Same kind of flower, same size and shape flower but some clusters are always predominantly white like the rest of the plant and periodically a full cluster is always uniformly magenta.

The tomato plant is producing fruit normally with normal leaf growth. One stem produces yellow/orange ripe fruit. The rest of the plant produces red fruit. This plant was grown from seed, unknown parentage.

Any thoughts?

Thank you,


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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Sounds like what they call a "sport". Apparently a number of new cultivars have arisen from "sport" branches (where some sort of mutation may have occurred), and these were vegetatively propagated en masse, if the trait continued with cuttings from that odd branch.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2004 at 1:31PM
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dave_worden(z9,San Jose, CA)

thanks Jenny
It appears you are exactly correct.
Previous to checking out your response I had the misunderstanding that "sport" was reserved for whole plants that were products of sexual plant reproduction. Now I will be trying to figure out what caused these asexual sport branches on established plants???????????

    Bookmark   July 16, 2004 at 1:54PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Chimeras are common it the plant world. They occur when a cell undergoes some sort of mutation. The mutation may be spontaneous or it may be induced by an extraneous source, like irradiation or treatment with chemical mutagens. If the mutant cell is is found near what's called the crest of the apical dome, then all other cells which occur through division of that cell will be duplicates of the mutated cell. When this phenomenom occurs, there will be cells of 2 different genotypes growing side by side in a plant tissue, a chimera.

If the mutation occurs in a plant area where the liklihood of extensive further cell division is unlikely, then the probability of detecting or noticing the mutation by cursory inspection of the plant as a whole is low.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2004 at 4:51PM
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dave_worden(z9,San Jose, CA)

Awesome information Al!
My favorite forums are mostly Roses, Seeds and Bonsai but thought I would give this one a try with this question. Appreciate your response. Exciting to learn.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2004 at 5:00PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I'm hoping to learn much here as well. See you around.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2004 at 5:59PM
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Cornus(z5-6 OH)

So this reminds me of a spirea I just trimmed for a second bloom. It had some yellow striped leaves at the base. Was this spirea once all yellow varigated? I know that with yellow varigated euyonomus (great spelling) if you get a pure green leafed branch you cut it out. Same deal here?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2004 at 10:38AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Yes, cut it out if you wish to retain the uniform variegated appearance. There are many kinds of variegation, & in part they depend on the tissues that have been affected. Remember that variegation (except pathological) depends on two genetically different tissues living side by side. Variegation can vary between nearly completely stable to very unstable. It's not unusual for variegated tissues in a plant to die out & the plant to revert to an all green form.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2004 at 9:39PM
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Al, thanks for the very cool, detailed info!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2004 at 10:32PM
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headgardener(Z5 Chicago area)

So, the sport is the mutation, so is the chimera the entire plant with the mutation?

I have a Phlox 'Bright Eyes' which I have had for 3-4 yrs. this year, one stalk is a medium salmon color, and the rest of the phlox is the pale pink with the deep pink eye. I figured the salmon stem was a sport, but chimera is a new word for me.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2004 at 8:47PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Technically speaking, a sport is a plant or plant part come into being as result of some mutation, chimeral rearrangement, or recombination that is usually genotypically different from the original plant. A chimera is a plant with two or more genetically different cells growing side by side.

I think what you're asking can be answered by saying that chimeras are best described as sports (usually naturally occurring chimeral rearrangements) that have been vegetatively reproduced.

Forgive me if I don't have some detail exactly right. Most of my knowledge in this area is incidental to what I have learned of witches brooms & other mutations as they apply to plants commonly used in bonsai culture.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2004 at 11:19PM
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