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Sports and Chimeras

According to the dictionary A chimera is a fire-breathing she-monster in Greek mythology having a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail. Biologically it is a portion of a plant that has a different genetic makeup from the rest of the plant. Often on trees a bud will develop into a different type of branch. On variegated plants the new growth from the sport may revert back to the all green form or vice-versa. In Iris a plant may develop a variegated leaf or a whole fan of variegated leaves. Iris flowers may have a mutation in the growing meristem that causes half of the flower to be one color and the other half another. Sometimes the sport is maintained and other times it may switch back and forth to and from the original. If the changes are randomly distributed on the developing petals then it can result in flecks or dots or streaks that are usually classed as broken color. But in some flowers a part of a branch may exhibit a different coloration. When a major portion of a flower or a branch is different than it usually is referred to as a sport. It is frequently stated that there are unstable genes but the actual mechanism is not known. Sometimes sports seem to persist indefinitely. For example Iris albicans in the wild is a white iris but in large populations there sometimes occur blue forms that were a sport of the white. Separating these and growing them with a different name is common but the plant may well ultimately revert back to the white form.

Examples:

Spuria 'Ping and Pang' Joseph's Coat' Kaleidoscope Iris florentina and 'Zua' (a creped form 'Zua' (white) and 'Eizabeth Huntington' (blue) Iris florentina and 'Firmament' 'Batik' and 'White Witch' 'Fourward Thinking' 'Silverband' sport of Iris ensata 'Splendor In The Grass' sport of 'Ouachita Half Moon'

Topic revision: r2 - 17 Mar 2024, BobPries
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