RE: Variegated Nepenthes

From: Mellard, David (
Date: Wed Nov 17 1999 - 05:30:09 PST

Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 08:30:09 -0500
From: "Mellard, David" <>
Message-Id: <aabcdefg3898$foo@default>
Subject: RE: Variegated Nepenthes

> Several theories of variegation in plants have been suggested. One is

>that it is caused by viruses,

Another possibility is that the plant is infected with mycoplasma, which is
a single cell organism (akin to bacteria) that lives inside the tissue.
Trillium, a three-leaved woodland plant common in the eastern US, infected
with mycoplasma show varying degrees of variegation on the leaves and quite
often malformed flowers. The variegation is quite beautiful and very
appealing. Growth over the years, though, is retarded and eventually kills
the plants. For a while, people who found these variegated trillium thought
they had found a rare and valuable plant. What they had was a rare and
dangerous plant since the mycoplasma infection could be transferred to
surrounding plants, probably by insect bites or direct contact.

So, if your variegated Nepenthes produces malformed leaves and flowers and
is a poor grower, I'd suspect mycoplasma (or a virus) and consider growing
it in isolation from your other plants.

I suspose there are labs that could test your plant for mycoplasma. You
might want to contact a local university that has an agriculture or
horticulture program.


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