Re: Variegated Nepenthes

Date: Tue Nov 16 1999 - 20:21:20 PST

Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 23:21:20 EST
Message-Id: <aabcdefg3891$foo@default>
Subject: Re: Variegated Nepenthes

In a message dated 99-11-15 14:35:13 EST, you write:

<< Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 22:24:41 -0000
 From: "Flick Foreman" <>
 To: <>
 Subject: Re: Variegation
 Message-ID: <002401bf2eef$70bc18e0$f5fca8c2@default>
 I have what I believe to be a variegated Nepenthes. Is there such a thing?
 I have never seen this in any of the books that I have. Does anyone else
 have any variegated CP's? Flick.

Dear Flick,

Yes there are variegated Nepenthes, though they are by no means common. One
of the first ones to show up was N. alata, which I believed turned up in a
flat of green N. alata in Japan. This plant has white edges to the leaves and
white mottling on the pitchers. The leaves and pitchers sometimes are a bit
irregular in shape. Since then Atlanta Botanic Garden had a beautiful N.
ventricosa show up in tissue culture. This one has lime green leaves with
darker 'regular' green striping throughout. The pitchers do not show much
variegation. Bruce Bednar recently sent me a very unusual variegated N.
veitchii seedling. The plant appears healthy but the leaves and pitchers are
spotted with white. It is still quite small but the trait seems to be
holding as it grows. I received a slightly variegated N. bongo from one of
John de Kanel's tissue cultured plants, it is quite small and again only time
will tell if this will hold. Lastly, the most exciting plant is a very
highly variegated N. rafflesiana seedling originally from Agristarts' T/C.
Still quite young (3" diameter), it has great promise as an ornamental. It
is interesting that more of these plants are showing up now in tissue, it
makes me wonder if this has to do with the chemicals used in the process.

     I have also seen a FVT with variegation but had no luck with it.

     Several theories of variegation in plants have been suggested. One is
that it is caused by viruses, and since the N. alata shows some abnormalities
other than the white color, this is suspect. I would highly recommend using
a new razor blade when making cuttings and/or cleaning dead parts from your
plants and then dispose of the blades. Orchid growers regularly do this and
I think it a good idea with all Nepenthes. The other theory I have heard is
that these plants are chimeras, with two distinct sets of DNA in one
organism, but I have no idea if this is true or even possible. (Knowledge or
opinions out there?)

     All of these plants are rather slow in growth due either to the virus or
to the lack of photosynthetic tissue. This trick is to find one with stable
variegation that does not take too much vigor from the plant. Now if I could
only find a variegated N. truncata! WOW!


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