Saturday, 07 September 2019 15:49

Chimeric Albino Redwood Cones & Seedlings 2019

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 chimera cone 4 2019

After the initial discovery of chimeric albino redwood cones was made in 2015, another four years would pass before we could see this super rare phenomenon again in Coast redwoods. Amazingly in the fall of 2019 another tree was found to exhibit sectorial, candy cane like variegation. Like with the first discovery, clear lines of delineation could be seen separating both the albino and green genotypes on this sectorial chimera.

 

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Here's a view of the sectorial albino chimera that produced the chimeric cones in 2019. Within the foliage, you can see the borders between white and green genotypes extending down several branches. In the lower portion of the picture you can see albino and chimeric cones originating from the variegated sections of the tree.

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The sectorial chimera variegation as it appears on the tree. Note how the middle cone appears split down the middle between the two genotypes. Again this is incredibly rare to see and one of nature's beautiful expressions of color. 

 

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 As we zoom under the microscope, we can see the clear boarders between the mutation and normal green cells on this chimeric cone. 

 

chimera cone 3 2019

In the last picture we see the same cone a week later after it started splitting open. What adds another level of mystery to the mutational pattern is how the chimeric boundary between the white & green genotypes do not always follow the diamond pattern seen when the cones start splitting open. Seeds originating from these boarder sections may produce chimeric albino seedings. It's estimated that approximately 50 cones on the tree were entirely albino, while just 15 exhibited the chimeric albino variegation seen here.

 

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Between September & October of 2019, 8 chimeric albino cones and 29 albino cones were collected off the aerial albino redwood. A total of 37 mutated cones were collected yielding approximately 3300 seeds. In October the first set of seeds were sown in planting trays separated by cone origin. Chimeric cones in one row, albino cones in the second, and green cones in the third. Over the course of the next 2-3 weeks a total of 41 seedlings germinated for all cone groups. Viability was a extremely low at a rate of around 1.2%. This number was surprising considering the species already has an average germination rate of 10-15%. Three of the seedlings were chimeric albino, while another turned out to be a pale albino. Those four variegated seedlings translated to 0.1% viability rate for the mutated group. These may be minute numbers but are extraordinary examples for such a complex species. 

 

 

Chimeric seedling 2019 1

A sectorial albino chimera seedling has germinated around its normal green siblings. Even at this young age the seedling exhibits multi-colored needle arrangement. 

 

 

Chimeric Seedlings 2019 2

In December 2019, this month old seedling exhibits chimeric and pale albino variegation. The seedling on the left appears normal. 

 

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 In May 2020 at six months old, the seedlings grew an average height of seven inches. In this picture we can see just how low seedling viability was with the mutated group. The green seedlings on the left germinated off normal green cones, while the few seedlings on the right developed off the chimeric albino cones. 

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 In July 2020 the four chimeric seedlings were transferred out of the trays and potted in individual containers

 

 For more information on the discovery of this tree's cones, please visit the "2019 Tales of White Trees" section of the site here: 2019 Tales of White Trees

Read 1380 times Last modified on Monday, 20 July 2020 23:52

1 comment

  • Comment Link Allan Pilger Thursday, 09 April 2020 18:15 posted by Allan Pilger

    Having grown up in Redwood Country on Monterey Bay CA, I find the Chimera facsinating. What type of soil do they do best in? I live on the Long Beach WA peninsula. Would the Chimera do well in this climate? We are 2 blocks due
    east of the Pacific Ocean. Are seedlings vailable for purchase.? There is a HUGE Redwood tree on the grounds of the Oysterville P.O. that is estimated to be 100 years old and appears hale and hearty. If seedlings are available for purchase please advise as to cost. Thank you for your time and assistance. Allan Pilger, apilger@charter.net

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