Reversion in variegated miscanthus

Miscanthus ‘Variegatus’,”Rigoletto’, and ‘Silberpfeil’ have longitudinal white stripes on the foliage. However, this spring, some plants showed many culms with only green foliage, as seen at left. Sometimes this was at the edge of the plant, and other times it was in the center. All solid green stems were removed by cutting at the base. These sections that show reversion to the solid green form are much more vigorous, with more chlorophyll and thus the capacity to grow more quickly than the striped forms. Why does this reversion happen? The green foliage is the ‘normal’ form, the striped is the mutant, that we have selected and propagated. These plants may also be chimeras, or consist of two distinct phenotypes side by side, one cell line being green and the other striped.  Since the all green cells are much stronger, they grow and multiply quickly. Remove all green culms and foliage to keep the plants true to their original identity.

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About grasstalk

University of Minnesota Professor and Extension Horticulturist
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