Interesting variegated pink lemon question! W/ pic!

JoeP450September 15, 2011

I have noticed on my variegated pink lemon tree that there is this unusual 8 in branch that is just completely white. All the other leaves on the tree are the usual variegated green and white which forces this "albino branch" to really stand out. I have two questions:

1) is the appearance of this albino branch a usual occurrence on variegated lemon trees?

2) if this is is truly an unusual occurrence could the branch be cut off and grafted onto a different rootstock to produce an "albino lemon tree?"

Here is the picture below, I took it this morning and the sun was in a bad position, but you can get the idea.

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murahilin(10 fl)

It happens occasionally on variegated plants. It can't survive on its own grafted because it has no chlorophyll and will die.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 11:44AM
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That is just a characteristic that some variegated plants put off at times. I would not call it rare. Variegated plants are usually less susceptible to insect damage, which in the case of a citrus tree you will have less to little issues with leaf miner damage. On the other hand, it needs the green pigment to photosynthesize for survival. With no "green", you will have an issue with chlorophyll and the ability of photosyntheis so there is no benefit to try and produce an "all white" plant. The all white branch will have issues itself as it would be not only susceptible to being scorched by the bright light but will struggle to survive. It would eventually be doomed for survival since it cannot photosynthesize to make food. There is no way the tree would have the ability to provide the energy to produce any fruit on the all white branch.

For these same reasons, I would not even consider trying to produce an all white tree.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 11:50AM
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They are right Joe but if you have extra time and rootstock, why not try? Or even take some of your white scion and graft it back onto your lemon tree somewhere else protected? At least you get more practice at grafting.


    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 1:46PM
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I would not waste the time to try and practice your grafting with this as it will just bring your success percentages down. Without the ability of photosynthesis to occur (no chlorophyll/green pigment), the graft would be destined for failure.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 2:17PM
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Another possibility is the double graft it, with the white portion being in the middle. It would then give you a portion of the tree that is "albino" and with a green portion at the distal end, you might get enough photosynthates to keep it alive. I'm with Ethan, why not give it a shot?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 10:55PM
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fruit guy, need some education on horticulture...the all white portion will not be able to survive.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 11:30PM
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fruit guy - didn't mean to be rude, but no matter what you do, the all white branch, or albino as you call it, can not photosynthesize not matter what other branches you graft around it.

Joe - trust me, you are better off practicing your grafting with material at least has a chance from the beginning.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 11:42PM
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bsbullie, I am simply theorizing here, I do not have any empirical evidence to suggest that this technique would be successful, however my thinking is as such: All plants have "sources" and "sinks", areas that generate photosynthates and areas that utilize them, respectively. (A fruit is an example of a sink.) If one were to graft the all white portion onto a branch, or even a rootstock, and then secondarily graft a source, or a branch with cholorphyll on top of that, then there is the potential for the sugars to pass through the white portion and be utilitized as necessary for growth. Will it actually work? I have no idea. I've never heard of it being done before. That's why it would be important to try it. Somebody has to be first.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 12:50PM
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pj1881(10a PBC Fla.)

I know a place I could stick a branch of that tree that would get enough nutrition that it wouldnt need photosynthesis, which ironically is a good thing because it wouldnt be getting sun there anyway! No rudeness intended! (even though its DEAD rude!)

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 8:12PM
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fruit guy- it could possibly work the double graft idea, as it stands right now the albino branch is thriving even without being able to make its own chlorophyll because it is getting it from the rest of the plant i guess which it still would be doing if it was double grafted. Its just too bad because I think an albino lemon tree would be a really neat specimen.

I wish I was an expert in horticulture myself, but instead I am just a pharmacist with a new hobby and interest in growing fresh tropical fruit.

thanks for everyone's input.


    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 12:47AM
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JoeP450, it all likelihood the albino branch will eventually die off, but by the same token, that is not a certainty. Theorizing again, while the branch is still small, there is not as much of an energy expense in transporting sugars to keep the cells alive, but as it continues to grow, it will probably reach a point where it becomes unsustainable. The thought behind the double graft is that, if sucessful, the sugars would have to be transported through the white portion, bringing down that transport cost considerably.

I'm sure that there are similarities between horticulture and pharmacology. I would speculate that to become a pharmacologies, you would have taken several chemistry/biochemistry courses, all of which will serve you well in horticulture. The best part of horticulture over pharmacology is that you can experiment and try different things and at worst you lose a plant. lol

And IMHO, most people who call themselves experts are full of bs!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 5:39PM
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murahilin(10 fl)

JoeP450 and FruitGuy,
I think that the albino double graft idea seems like it could possibly work. I am not sure of what the benefit would be but it would be cool to get a fruit from an albino branch if possible. Instead of being striped it may be entirely yellowish white when immature.

The way that may work best is to first graft on a regular branch onto the albino branch as it is attached to the main tree. This way when you go to graft the white branch there is a green branch on the top of the albino branch producing energy. It may take a long time to see the finished product but it would be worth it if you could get the double graft the work.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 10:37PM
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Any updates? I have one of these all-white limbs myself and was wondering if/how to play around with it...

    Bookmark   November 1, 2014 at 1:18PM
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