A curious mutation

Berries on the variegated leaf beautyberry ‘Duet’ (below) are scarce enough to be almost an afterthought, so imagine my curiosity upon first glance at a dense covering of berries on a single branch. A closer look revealed a mutation, a branch with dense clusters of small white berries, but with atypical variegation of varying shades of green, somehow not noticed until now.

‘Duet’ is positioned far back in this deep border of shrubs and perennials that will tolerate soil that is often swampy. Its nicely contrasted variegation is visible from a distance, but the scattered few berries show poorly against the white of the leaves. Other beautyberries, with brilliant purple berries, or white with a backdrop of green, are glorious additions to the September/ October garden, though unremarkable through the other months. ‘Duet’, assuredly a mutation from a green leafed, white berried beautyberry, is only slightly more ornamented by its meager display of berries, but I am never tempted to chop it out.

The mutated branch (above) would hardly be of interest, in fact it would be considered a reversion back to the parent, if not for a slight variegation of greens. I do not suppose that the variegation might become more distinct, but if it is possible that the variegation has faded to a lime green that was more yellow until late summer, perhaps this branch should not be pruned, but monitored for another year.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Definitely monitor! The berries stand out so much more, but the leaves are intriguing.

    1. Dave says:

      I will tag the branch in hopes that I will remember to check it next summer. I am curious to see if the variegation is more distinct in the spring.

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