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Thread: question about n. edwardsiana leaf coloration

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    question about n. edwardsiana leaf coloration

    i was looking through the edwardsiana posted in this thread N. edwardsiana growers - come in!

    and i noticed that some of these plants were completely green, while some others have red leaves and red stems , and others green leaves with red stems. and others have some amount of red somewhere on the leaf like red tendrils or whatever.

    Is this just natural variation within the same species or is there some other factor that influences their leaf coloration? like why are some of them totally green while others are green/red

    This one has really red leaves https://www.reddit.com/r/SavageGarde...n_edwardsiana/

    while http://www.pitcherplant.com/img_cs1/n_ed1.jpg , and http://photobucket.com/gallery/user/...NTUyMTM=/?ref= on page 10 of that thread is completely green

    oh i also noticed that some of them have white pitcher interiors while others seem to just be reddish. is this another case of natural variation, plant age, or is it growing condition caused differences?
    Last edited by Frost; 08-27-2018 at 02:40 AM.

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    Grey Moss's Avatar
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    Its a bit of both. Leaf coloration is strongly influenced by light intensity. Under high light any plant that is capable of turning red will turn red. There is also some natural variation. Edwardsiana is one of those species where there are a fair number of seedgrown plants out there. So the maximum amount of redness each plant is capable of expressing will vary a bit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Moss View Post
    Its a bit of both. Leaf coloration is strongly influenced by light intensity. Under high light any plant that is capable of turning red will turn red. There is also some natural variation. Edwardsiana is one of those species where there are a fair number of seedgrown plants out there. So the maximum amount of redness each plant is capable of expressing will vary a bit.
    The mechanism behind the effects of light intensity on leaf coloration is pretty interesting. The green you see in plants is due to the pigment chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is important because it is what convert light energy to chemical energy for plants to survive (and subsequently for all other life on earth that depend on plants). Under low light conditions, the plant need to produce more chlorophyll in order compensate for the lack of light. Less chlorophyll is needed under higher light conditions. The reason the amount of chlorophyll is important in terms of the appearance of the plant is because the chlorophyll mask the appearance of the other plant pigments such as anthrocyanin (among others) which is responsible for the color red, blue, and purple we see in plants. Since the production of one thing is usually at the cost of another, a plant would not want to make a bunch of extra chlorophyll (barring a genetic override) under high light conditions that it does not need. Consequently, with less chlorophyll at higher light conditions, we get to see the other pigments that the plant makes that is used for other purposes. The fall color of deciduous trees we see is due to the breakdown of chlorophyll in the fall. This explains one part of the equation of leaf appearance.

    Another part of the equation has to do with genetics as Grey Moss mentioned. Seed grown plants may exhibit a lot of variability in their appearance. In addition to the impact of environment, a phenomenon known as recombination occurs during sexual reproduction. During this process, bits and pieces of genetic materials from the parents are mixed around into new arrangements. In addition, things like gene duplication (sometimes multiplication) and deletion can occur during recombination. For example, if a gene for the color red (i.e. high production of anthrocyanin) gets duplicated and inserted back in the chromosome, then a progeny getting that duplicated gene could end up with a double dose of red. Although, the reverse could also happen. If a gene gets expressed too much, the machinery of the plant may decide that it can't take it and shuts it down in a phenomenon called silencing. If a gene gets deleted then the trait controlled by it is removed. Unless the deleted gene is needed for something important, the plant could still survive. It just might not be as vigorous. The plant can also survive if the deletion is only in some tissues but not in others (example, variegated plants). In plants, different tissue may be genetically different than other tissue (example, thornless blackberry-inner layer of tissue carries gene for thorns while outer layer does not). The red color could also get turned up, down, or stay the same depending on where the "red gene" gets place in the chromosome during recombination. Any "abnormal" thing that occurs during recombination such as duplication/deletion is often regarded as a mutation. Unless the mutation is detrimental to the health of the plant, it is usually retained by the plant. Sometimes, it adds a "kink" in the chromosome (make one of the two pairing chromosome a little too long or short...cannot match up) so that it cannot get past along into subsequent progenies. These plants can only be replicated by asexual reproduction to get the desired characteristics. Often times, the trait we observed are controlled by multiple genes and therefore the range of traits we see are not so easily controlled. As you can see genetics is a complicated situation and I've only described some of the genetic factors (there are many others) affecting the variability you see in the appearance of a plant.

    Since I've probably gone in too much detail above, I just want to point out that growth media (nutrient, pH, etc), watering, and plant developmental stage can all affect how a plant look. Therefore, it is more important to get a general sense of what a plant is suppose to look like overall rather than to focus on a particular characteristic at a particular time.

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