You know the saying “You learn something new everyday”? I say it all the time and it’s true! The other night at my African violet meeting, I learned something new. We discussed something called “birthmarking”. I had never seen this phenomenon before. One if the members brought two plants with birthmarking so we could see it up close and personal.
The first three pictures are of African violet ‘Super Duper‘. These leaves are usually a medium green. The light areas are the birthmarks.
In researching this a little more on line, I read that it usually involves plants with red backed leaves. That is obviously not true because ‘Super Duper‘ leaves are not red backed. You can see the areas that have changed have become lighter, not darker, as would happen if it were red backed.
The plant below is ‘Moon Child‘ and is red backed and so the birthmarking shows up as darker than the usual coloring of the plant.
I love how the leaf is split right down the middle with the coloring! So cool!
So, how does this birthmarking occur? It seems it is a genetic defect. It was explained comparing this happening to humans having heart disease in their family. And it doesn’t always happen to all plants or humans in the family. My Mom and her brother had heart valve replacement but not either of their sisters. So it happens to ‘Super Duper‘ but not all the time and not to all of the plants. But, it happens more often to this cultivar than to other African violet cultivars. Taking a birthmarked leaf and propagating it will make a birthmarked plant. Using a plain leaf from the same plant might result in a birthmarked plant and might not. Does any of this make sense? I hope so. I’m trying to explain it so it is easy to understand.
I think these plants are amazing and more beautiful than the plain plants. But, as stated before, I love variegated plants. So, if you see a plant like this that isn’t supposed to be variegated, don’t throw it away thinking it is diseased. It is just different.