Colorful Cotyledons

Occasionally I see seedlings germinating that have a remarkably wide range of colored cotyledons. Pictured is a cluster of seedlings from ‘Rosy Purple’ X ‘Vineyard Song’. There are about 50 seedlings so far and they all look much like this. Some are “albinos” and will die without ever greening up and some, like the large one at far left, start out pink and eventually turn green.

I can’t match your talent for composition (nicely done!) but here are some Lynnie OP seedlings that show a little variability.

Don and Paul you certainly take very good pictures. If I take a picture of anything that small it becomes blury.

Yes they are very good photos, really clear. I usually get single cotyledons or cotyledons that fuse together to make one but I have never seen colorful ones like the ones you have there. I like the dark green one with the red margin around the edge, it appears like this one will be a healthy one. The leaves coming from it are even colorful.


Its really all about having a decent macro lens and knowing how the relationship between shutter speed, aperture and ISO setting works. As for composition, all the credit goes to these five seedlings who were kind enough to group themselves into such an artistic configuration!

Great photos, Paul and Don!

Btw, Paul, this reminds me to tell you, I’ve gotten two albino sprouts from Nightmoss so far, and two seedlings that attempt to grow but seem to suffer horribly from chlorosis. The rest are all nice, robust plants. Have you seen this?

Yes Fa, I have. The OGR Mosses tend to breed a fair number of albino seedlings for some reason. Modern mosses like the Ralph Moore hybrids don’t seem to do this at all though.


Beautiful pictures and what an interesting topic!

Thanks for posting!


Nice photos!

Paul, I especially like yours and can imagine it looking very nice hanging on a wall!

Jim Sproul

Paul, does any of that generally carry through to mature plants? For instance, would the burgundy colored cotyledon seedling have red new growth or bronze colored foliage? The lime-green one have apple-green new growth? or might such indicate probable pigments in flowers? Red vs. Yellow??

I’ve never noticed such grand diversity in my own seedlings – certainly not from one cross. Lovely photo!


I was just going to ask this (kind of…) as well. I was going to ask if there were any follow up photos to see what they are like as they develop their true leaves?

I’ve never tracked this data, no. With an average of 5000 seedlings per year for the past decade, I don’t have the time or energy to track something like this, as interesting as it might be. Sorry I don’t have that information.