What's up with the non-Misukage Misukage?
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  #1  
Old 02-08-2021, 12:11 AM
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K-Sci K-Sci is offline
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What's up with the non-Misukage Misukage? Male
Default What's up with the non-Misukage Misukage?

There are some very nice Misukage out there, though the right lighting is needed to bring out the pattern even in a good representative. Virtually all the individuals I've seen for sale have very little variegation and most have no none at all. I suspect that these non-Misukage Miskage have their origins as seed, and that most turn out either normal green, either entirely lime green, with only a few (if any) having the quality of the original.

It would be nice if sellers would make up their minds. Is a Neo variety the 'blood line", or is it having the actual features. This is mostly a rhetorical question, but feel free to comment. I am aware of the differences in the AOS vs. Japanese approach to varieties and cultivars.

The Misukage I have was an eBay impulse buy some time ago. It has shima stripes on one growth, but that it. I made the purchase hoping that there were more, but just not visible in the photo.

Is there a trick I don't know about, such as high light, low light, or cool/warm temperature, fertilizer or lack thereof, or watering with beer (J/K)?
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  #2  
Old 02-08-2021, 04:45 AM
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Hakumin Hakumin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K-Sci View Post
There are some very nice Misukage out there, though the right lighting is needed to bring out the pattern even in a good representative. Virtually all the individuals I've seen for sale have very little variegation and most have no none at all. I suspect that these non-Misukage Miskage have their origins as seed, and that most turn out either normal green, either entirely lime green, with only a few (if any) having the quality of the original.
Due to the biology of shima variegation, all shima varieties are inherently unstable in the position and quantity of stripes. Every single shima variety will have the potential to have lots of stripes, not very many stripes, or go solid green or ghost. It's just in the nature of the characteristic. The instability exists between individual offshoots as well as from leaf to leaf, and as you watch any shima variety grow over time, you'll see it produce varying amounts and qualities of variegation, all in the same plant.

Overall, it takes immense skill and experience as well as a not so trivial amount of luck to get a shima plant to be consistently variegated across all growths and leaves, and in turn, this makes individuals of any shima variety with high quality variegation rather rare and priced accordingly higher. With high quality plants being rarer, you just don't see them as often in the open market.

Misukage, being a shima variety, is exactly the same, and the bad Misukage you're seeing is not caused by seed propagation. They're usually simply the divisions with low quality variegation. Some you're seeing have bad balance between the lighter and darker green sectors, and others are simply missing one or the other color entirely.

Beyond that, I've seen a LOT of ghosted Misukage being sold in the US. Unlike varieties that have white or yellow variegation, since the variegated sectors of Misukage are still green and have enough functional chloroplasts, even if the plant goes "ghost" and the lighter sectors take over the entire growth, it can still survive. On top of that, The Misukage variety as a whole tends to rather easily let out ghosted offshoots, even from high quality individuals. These ghosts are by no means good quality in regards to the variety as a whole, but they're healthy plants, and be it due to ignorance or greed, many people seem to feel few qualms about selling them.

Annoyingly, there's a big US vendor that was selling these ghosted Misukage as "lime-green foliage type" and saying that they could produce properly variegated offshoots as they grow. While this isn't completely untrue, the likelihood of those ghosted Misukage eventually producing proper variegation is very very low, and so to me, it rings borderline dishonest.



Quote:
Originally Posted by K-Sci View Post
It would be nice if sellers would make up their minds. Is a Neo variety the 'blood line", or is it having the actual features. This is mostly a rhetorical question, but feel free to comment. I am aware of the differences in the AOS vs. Japanese approach to varieties and cultivars.
Functionally, the defining characteristics of a Neo variety include both the physical features and the "bloodline".

However, for the issue at hand, I guess the question is whether or not an individual of a shima variety that has either lost its variegation or turned completely ghost can be considered the same variety as one that has proper shima variegation.

Despite the actions of certain less knowledgeable or less experienced vendors (especially western ones) most dedicated growers and the vast majority of vendors in Korea and Japan, if they choose to separate growths like these, will basically treat them as separate varieties in the same way that fukurin and nakafu variants are treated as separate varieties.

Individuals of shima varieties that have turned solid green are almost always relabeled with the original name plus -no-Ao, attached to the end of the name. For example, a Kinkabuto that goes solid green would be called Kinkabuto-no-Ao. Other less common suffixes include Garanuki, or Garaochi, which both literally mean "Without Pattern"

Ghosted growths of most shima varieties can't survive once separated so those usually don't have names or separate labels. However in some varieties they can survive and in those cases, they are either given their own name (e.g. Shingetsuden is a ghost of Higuma Fukurin), or they will have -no-Yūrei suffixed onto the parent name.

So, for a Misukage that has turned solid dark green, the correct label would be Misukage-no-Ao.

For a Misukage that has turned full light green (ghost), the correct label would be Misukage-no-Yūrei.

In most cases, any vendor that doesn't explicitly indicate these two conditions when selling these types of plants are lazy, ignorant or dishonest. Unfortunately though there are plenty of vendors like this so it's going to be important to know what you're looking at when you're looking to buy any of these. (Though, I should mention that there are a few rare varieties where the combination of characteristics and the way the plant may show or not show all of its defining characteristics at a given time is so complicated that it's difficult to follow this or any convention. However, these are usually very expensive varieties, and so it's highly discouraged to buy them to begin with unless you really understand the variety thoroughly.)



Quote:
Originally Posted by K-Sci View Post
The Misukage I have was an eBay impulse buy some time ago. It has shima stripes on one growth, but that it. I made the purchase hoping that there were more, but just not visible in the photo.

Is there a trick I don't know about, such as high light, low light, or cool/warm temperature, fertilizer or lack thereof, or watering with beer (J/K)?
Depends on what direction the variegation is skewed.
  • If the leaves are predominantly dark with a few light stripes, you'll want to give it higher light than usual for the variety. Theoretically you'd also want to avoid over-fertilizing as well in this case.
  • If the leaves are predominantly light with a few dark stripes, you'll want to give it a bit lower light. Theoretically you'd also want to boost the fertilizer levels a bit as well.
  • If the growth is completely solid colored with no trace of the other color, there's still a tiny chance that good care will encourage variegation to develop in that growth again, but the likelihood is very very low in most cases.
  • In all cases, you'll want to thoroughly water yourself with beer. It'll make everything feel better.



I myself got a misukage just about 6 years ago. It wasn't a high quality individual, but it was particularly cheap, so I figured I'd experiment with it.

When I first got it, the lower leaves had decent variegation, but the upper leaves were showing too much light green with few dark green stripes:




To encourage more dark green, I kept the plant in a lower light position on my grow stand, and gradually it started developing more of the darker stripes. I initially thought that it was morphing into Jinpu (fukurin), but that proved not to be the case. Finally, after about 5 years, I got my first really good high quality variegated leaf on the main growth, which is the top leaf in this photo:



Unfortunately, both babies that the plant produced so far are complete ghosts.

For now, I'm leaving those growths on because the clump looks rather nice with them there, but eventually they'll be removed and discarded once other properly variegated offshoots start coming in.
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Last edited by Hakumin; 02-08-2021 at 03:37 PM..
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  #3  
Old 02-08-2021, 02:09 PM
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Hakumin,
You've provided some really outstanding information, as usual.
My Misikage had a couple stripes on the largest growth when I purchased it in September. I put it outdoors where it received nearly full sun with daytime temperatures around 70-75F. With a close look just now I found that the newest leaf has at least one wide shima stripe. The tip of that leaf was just barely showing in my incoming shipment photo, so the stripe may have already been initiated, however.
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