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.
Here's a view of the sectorial albino chimera that produced the chimeric cones in 2019. Within the foliage, you can see the boarders 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.
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 natures's beautiful expressions of color.
As we zoom under the microscope, we can see the clear boarders between the mutation and normal green cells on this chimeric cone.
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.
In October of 2019 approximately 3000 seeds were collected off a combination of 37 albino and chimeric cones. After planting out, a total of 41 seedlings germinated for a viability rate of around 1.3%. This was very low number considering the species has an average germination rate of only 10-15%. Two of the seedlings were chimeric albino, while another turned out to be a pale albino. Those three variegated seedlings translated to 0.1% viability for the mutated group. These may be minute numbers but are extraordinary examples for such a complex species.
Chimeric and pale albino variegation show on the seedling to the right.
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.