What is albinism in plants

Abinism is a genetic disorder that can manifest itself in animals but also in plants . In the same way that an albino person has to take measures to protect themselves, a plant being has to do the same but… in their case things are much more complicated.

As we know, abinism is the absence of pigments. When this happens to a plant species, its life is in serious danger, since the pigment it lacks is chlorophyll and without it it cannot carry out photosynthesis and, therefore, feed or grow. But how exactly does albinism affect plants?


  • 1 What is albinism?
  • 2 Can albino plants live?

What is albinism?

albino corn plant

Abinism is a genetic disorder that appears as a consequence of a deficiency in the synthesis of tyrosinases , which are the enzymes responsible for the formation of melanin in melanocytes, which are pigment cells. It can appear in any living being, be it plant or animal (including human beings), and it may even happen that, for example, a plant has the gene responsible for albinism that does not manifest itself in it but does in one of its descendants.

Can albino plants live?

Unfortunately, not much . Lacking chlorophyll, they are unable to transform the sun’s energy into food, so their fate is written as soon as the seed germinates. They do not usually live more than a few days or weeks. But… there is one exception: the albino sequoia . It is a conifer that, unlike its sisters, is completely white. It cannot reach 100 meters, but it does reach 20.

It is said to glow dimly at night under the moonlight , giving it the name ghost sequoia. The curious thing about all this is that specimens that exceed a century of life have been located. How is it possible?

Apparently, they multiply by propagules -underground stems-. New individuals sprout from them that feed on the roots that gave them life , behaving in this way as parasites of their precursors.

If you want to see them, you have to go where there is the greatest concentration: in Henry Cowell State Park, in California, or take a look at this video:

Did you know the phenomenon of abinism in plants?

What is albinism in plants

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