Perhaps the most beautiful and fascinating of all redwood mutations is the Chimera Albino Redwood. What’s unique about chimeras is they consist of organized cells that have two visually distinguishable sets of DNA (genotypes) within the same plant. Genetically speaking, chimeras are essentially two trees in one. Caused by an extremely rare mutation within the meristematic cells of redwood buds, chimeras exhibit sectors of green & white foliage together in array of very distinct patterns. Unlike their Non Chimeric Variegated Albino Redwood cousins, Chimeras display clear lines of delineation between the boarders of each genotype. What’s interesting about chimeras that sets them apart from other mutations is they come in three different phenotypic subsets or color patterns know as: sectorial, mericlinal, & periclinal.
Not only noted for their beauty, Chimeras have been responsible for giving researchers the latest discoveries in redwood morphology. Because of the organized color differences between the cells of chimeric redwoods, scientists have been able to visually understand how redwood meristematic cells layers grow and interact with each other which previously hasn’t been understood within normal green redwoods. This research has allowed for a better interpretation of how redwoods develop and why we see such genetic variation within this species.
Albino redwoods come in 7 different phenotypes or color variations:
- White or off white
- Bright yellow
- Cellular virescent green
- Pale green
- Non chimeric variegation
- Chimeric variegation
There are two distinct locations on a redwood tree where they can be found:
- Aeriel: Growing in the form of an independent branch or leader
- Basal: Water sprouts originating from adventitious buds off the tree's burl
Worth mentioning, there are also other non-albino redwood mutations that can be seen in the forest:
- Curly leaf
Note: Be sure to click on the names below of each albino redwood type for expanded description and photos.