something interesting

glaciers_end(8WA)September 3, 2012

I found this little something yesterday while doing some pruning on a Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Alaska' in my garden.

In case you're not familiar with this cultivar, here's a picture of the whole plant:

. . . and a closeup of the normal foliage and growth characteristics:

My question for anyone out there who may better know this cultivar is, does it look like I have broom on my hands or is this normal growth that sometimes shows up?


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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

Dave, that's a mutation for sure, I can't say if it's a witches'broom.
Get it propagated by cuttings and graft also a few.
Please inform us later on how it will develop...thanks!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 1:24AM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Certainly does look interesting and a nice color too.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 5:15PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Looks good. I'd call it a mutation, also. I might stretch that to a sport of a chimera or another sport dependent upon how the growth of Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Alaska' was found.

Or, if Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Alaska' was found as a variegated seedling, then I would classify what you have there Dave is a "witches-broom-chimera", because it has the same colored traits as the parent and more importantly, the foliage is smaller/tighter/more congested than of the parent. If however the colored traits were different, then I would classify it as a new, sport.

Chimeras begin as shoots containing: lack of chlorophyll, i.e. variegation, from shoots that are fully green, fully blue, fully gold, etc-, and even from other variegated plants where the new mutation shows the exact same colors.

Sports are very similar to chimeras, however a sport is fully different from the color(s) of the parent. Dave shows us something with the same parent plant color. If Dave's new mutation had different colors than that of 'Alaska', I'd call it a "witches-broom-sport."

It's tough to break all these into an easy explanation but I hope I have. For me, I quit doing so a long time ago and simply decided that "mutation" was the easiest word to describe any occurrence where a bud grows something different of the parent.

Witches brooms...those are easy ones to declare since the foliage is always smaller/more congested/tighter... ...A reversion is the last term to complete "bud mutations." In a reversion, the foliage is always larger than the parent, the opposite of a witches' broom. So, just for example & hypothetically if Dave's mutation had larger foliage than the parent plant of C.obtusa 'Alaska' and kept the same color, I would have classified it as a "reversion-chimera" or if new colors and larger foliage, again, it would be a "reversion-sport."


    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 9:20AM
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Dax, that explanation totally made my brain hurt. Good lesson there, parder!


    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 3:31PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Glad to be of help there sir!!!


    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 7:39AM
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I seem to remember hearing something about chimeras to the effect that the relevant mutation is confined to a localized region of the shoot tip so that some areas possess it and others do not, resulting in variegation (in the case where the mutation confers lack of chlorophyll or other effects on pigmentation).

So my question is, are all variegates chimeras?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 8:57AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Excellent question and I know the answer, regarding conifers. It depends 100% if the parent itself is all one color or, if it is a variegated parent, and how the parent came about to be.

Whether chimera or sport becomes mucky water. If a green conifer produces an all yellow shoot, that's a sport (I don't know why, it just is). If an all green conifer produces a green and yellow variegated shoot, it too is a sport (characteristics of the parent remain). If an all green conifer produces a blue and yellow variegated shoot, that's a chimera (completely different from the parent).

When from a variegated plant such as Dave''ll have to re-read what I wrote, above. Things kind of get 'reversed'. His plant really threw a wrench into the equation.

I really cannot explain it better than that, Alex.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 12:08PM
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