Monday, June 24, 2013

An Exciting Variation on a Theme?

Last week I was up in Iowa, getting together with family to celebrate the life (and mourn the passing) of an uncle of mine - a musician and teacher of music who shared his gift widely and passed along his knowledge to many.  He was one of those individuals who truly brought more beauty into this world through his living.

But on to the reason for my post.  While there, we visited the home of a relative renowned for her gardens, her cooking, and her hospitality...who just happened to have a rather unusual tree in her yard.  Looking around, we noticed a similar tree in a neighbor's yard as well.

These two maples had sections of leaves that were beautifully variegated.  Apparently Henrietta's tree, at least, had not been purchased as a variegated specimen.  In fact, according to her, it did not have any variegation in its foliage until she and her husband decided to move it from the front yard to the back, disappointed that it hadn't grown very well in the front yard.  After they moved it, the variegation appeared.

Apparently, this is how the leaves emerge.  As the summer goes on, the variegation disappears and the leaves turn to full green.  They color normally in the fall.  And repeat each year.

Is this a response to something in the soil?  A virus?  A genetic mutation?  I have no idea and would welcome any thoughts.  Meanwhile, I thought it was cool enough - and pretty enough - to share it.

I must admit to wondering if it could be propagated.....


ProfessorRoush said...

There is a variegated Norway Maple cultivar, Drummondii, that looks like that....don't know if they could have planted often reverts back to the "green form" because it is technically a chimera.

Gaia Gardener: said...

Well, that would be less exciting than a natural sport - but a lot more logical. My only reservation about that identification is that Henrietta was quite sure that they didn't plant a variegated maple originally - and, since they built the house, I presume she would know. I'll have to look into it.

Greggo said...

Maybe a limb was grafted on at the nursery as a prank.

Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Whatever the reason, it's cool.

Indie said...

Hmm, I don't know that much about what can cause it, but it's a beautiful tree! How interesting!
Sorry to hear about the passing of your uncle :(