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Posts Tagged ‘viridescence’

A small percentage of hostas predictably change colors during the course of the season. There are three types of changes:

Viridescence: Hosta emerges white or yellow and becomes greener.

Examples: Amy Elizabeth, Chinese Sunrise, Dawn’s Early Light, Eskimo Pie, Fortunei Albopicta, Gold Edger, Golden Oriole, Guardian Angel, Heart Broken, June Fever, Lemon Frost, Little Sunspot, Manhattan, Nancy, Night Before Christmas.

Lutescence: Hosta emerges green or chartreuse and turns to yellow or whitish yellow.

Examples: August Moon, Bitsy Gold, Bright Glow, Gaiety, Gold Standard, Golden Gate, Golden Scepter, Golden Sculpture, Golden Tiara, Golden Waffles, Grand Canyon, King Tut, Little Aurora, Lunar Magic, Midas Touch, Paradigm, Piedmont Gold, Sea Dream, Shade Master, Solar Flare, Thai Brass, Zounds.

Albescence: Hosta emerges yellow, yellowish green, or with green areas that turn to near white.

Examples: Celebration, Emerald Crust, Fan Dance, Grand Prize, Paul’s Glory, Red Hot Flash.

Lutescence and viridescence are caused by genes related to sensitivity to temperature.  With viridescence, higher temperatures slow down the activity of this inhibitor gene so that increasingly more chlorophyll is produced.  With lutescence, the gene(s) become more inhibiting as temperatures rise so less chlorophyll is produced.  Lutescent hostas need more sunlight than viridescent hostas to bring out their color to the fullest.

These color changes are genetic and are different from the color changes that result from different amounts of sunlight. (ie. ‘Guacamole’ can look at least three different colors depending on the amount of sun.)

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