What is a Variegated Leaf?

A variegated leaf is one that has more than one hue other than green. The most typical colors seen on variegated leaves are yellow, cream, and white, but many others are possible.

Variegated leaves can be plain or spotted with the secondary color as well as any combination in between. The areas of solid green will usually be small patches covering only a portion of the leaf surface and sometimes just a single edge. When present these patches appear as either stripes or small spots running parallel to each other along either side of a central vein or mid-rib running up and down the center of the leaf. Even the variegated plants that are most commonly cultivated in homes, such as African violets, have these stripes or spots.

Variegation can also involve multiple colors being present on a single leaf. This is usually seen with plants that are naturally multicolored rather than those where the variegation appears to be artificial. A good example of this kind of color variation is found in African violets which occasionally have leaves ranging from solid green to yellowish-green with splotches of light purple or brown running up and down along either side of the midribs.

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