Neo Root Tip Colors

Slippertalk Orchid Forum

Help Support Slippertalk Orchid Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Aug 14, 2014
Reaction score
New York City
After the brief root tip color discussion in Matt's leaf forms thread, I though I would share a few of my plants that are showing some root activity at the moment in the hope of what other people might call these colors.

I do have to apologize that not all these photos show the color correctly or clearly, so I'll try and explain each as I go. Please bear with me.

The first one is my Amami Island strain. You can see about three four root colored root tips. I would consider these hot pink (the photos are rather darker than reality), although as they grow out, the color does fade and turn into dirty pink and even duller.

So another good question I have is, when we talk root tip colors, what timing are we talking about since the color of the tip change as they elongate?


Next one up is Kogane Nishiki. These are described as having green root tips, but the two you see here clearly are more yellow.
They might look green in some screen but in person, they really are bright lemon yellow.


Nest, Kishi Ryofuku. This one is rather complex. There are quite a few new roots coming out on this guy but I only took one picture. The interesting part is that all the root tips have different colors ranging from mud, brown, dirty pink and green. Well, basically this makes it just mud, I guess? :confused:


Hisui. Brown or mud? with a hint of pink somewhere. What is the difference in these two terms when describing neo root tips any way??:confused:


Korean wild strain. or the common neo. Yes, the color is correct in the photo and I don't know what to call this. dark brown?


One of the few (Shutennou x Koto) seedlings with pink or red root tips out of about a dozen. Sorry the picture is a blurry zoom in shot, but the root tip is bright hot pink.


A mature Shutennou x Koto. This also came out very dark, but it is bright hot pink.


Shutennou. I would say pink.


None of my Kinroukaku is showing any root activity yet, which worries me a little bit. They both have ruby tip.
So, I've been reading about neos ( too much to know, but I don't want to go too deep into that world. lol) and it seems like in the neo community, there are only three "official" category when it comes to the root tip color.

Green, brown (this seems to cover dirty pink, mud....), and ruby.

So, in identifying the root tip color, you sort of round up to whatever the closest color group it fits the best.
I don't know whether or not there are only three official colors for Neo root tips. It's entirely possible. I'll have to take your word for that. I just don't happen to know the final word on the matter or if there is even a final word on the matter.

That being said, I have seen root tips which are decidedly more yellow than green, and I have seen clean, clear, bright green root tips as well.

I have seen varying shades of mud color roots, which in my opinion can be anything from brownish to brownish red to red to dark ruby red to varying combinations of red and green.

Ruby root tips, as I understand it, are bright, hot, magenta pink like what is seen on Houmeiden, Hokage or Kankiten.

I don't know how to categorize decidedly-salmon colored root tips, but I have seen them on Joumon No Hikari (aka Jomon No Hikari), Hana-Kin and others. They appear nearly like ruby root tips to me but with a noticeably different hue. I have also seen light lavender colored root tips on some Manjushage plants. Maybe these salmons and lavenders are considered to be versions of the "ruby" class of root tips, but I don't know.

Some Neo plants just don't produce anthocyanins, and so their root tips remain all green despite varying light levels. Plants which are capable of producing even small amounts of anthocyanin often end up showing at least a bit of reddish or brownish color in at least some of their root tips when they are exposed to a light source which triggers it. This could be due to the intensity of the light, or it could be due to a higher-than-normal level of some particular wavelength being given off by an artificial light source.

I think exposure to light definitely has the ability to influence the color of the root tips on plants which can produce anthocyanins. This could explain why some plants can produce both pure green root tips at the same time as they are producing other tips with varying shades of red or brown. This could also be why some years a plant's root tips could be more vibrantly colored than in other years. I think it's conceivable that nutrient levels and temperatures could play a role as well. It seems to me that Neo root tips are usually most vibrantly colored early in the spring when they are just beginning to grow. This would be true whether it is a new root just emerging from the plant or an old root which is beginning to grow once again.

As the roots continue to grow, extend and mature, I think it is perfectly normal for the root tip color to change. Some of this could be due to changing light levels or other factors, and some of this could be due to the root tip getting ready to recede into dormancy and take a rest.

One of the reasons I do not hasten to put a fresh covering of moss over any roots which decide to grow down over the top of the moss rather than into it is because I enjoy seeing the vibrantly colored root tips. They are one of the many joys of growing this species, and they add to the overall appearance. Eventually the time will come when I wrap them into a fresh ball of moss and wait for the new crop of roots to appear.
The information I read seems like an official text that the neo society goes by, so three categories.
As you say, yellow and green, or anything that looks similar falls into the green group, then the mud group covers a lot of things like those you mentioned. Ruby seems pretty straight forward.

I also enjoy looking at the roots tips. So much energy just like looking at developing buds. As they grow older, they do lose color and the white velamen becomes visible. boring, then. haha

Latest posts