What is Variegation?


Gardeners usually refer to leaves with a pattern of white, cream or yellow markings as “variegated”. To the scientist this is “pigment variegation” and is a mutation where the non-green leaf areas lack chlorophyll. This is the type of variegation which I exclude from my garden.

The other, very different, leaf patterning is to scientists “structural variegation” and to gardeners “mottled”, “spotted” or “veined” foliage, Markings such as these are natural adaptations, often associated with plants of great beauty that are happy in dappled shade – trillium, erythronium, pulmonaria. Naturally, I welcome these plants.


Copyright 2010-2014 Graham Cousins