Bishop’s Weed Reversion – Learn About Variegation Loss In Bishop’s Weed

Image by Jerzy Opio?a

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Also known as goutweed and snow on the mountain, bishop’s weed is a rambunctious plant native to western Asia and Europe. It has naturalized across most of the United States, where it isn’t always welcome due to its extreme invasive tendencies. However, bishop’s weed plant may be just the thing for tough areas with poor soil or excessive shade; it will grow where most plants are doomed to fail.

A variegated form of bishop’s weed plant is popular in home gardens. This form, (Aegopodium podagraria ‘Variegatum’) displays small, bluish-green leaves with white edges. The creamy white color provides a luminous effect in shady areas, which probably explains why bishop’s weed plant is also known as “snow on the mountain.” Eventually, you may notice variegation loss in bishop’s weed plants. If your bishop’s weed is losing its variegation, read on for information.

Variegation Loss in Bishop’s Weed

Why is my snow on the mountain losing color? Well, for starters, it’s normal for the variegated form of bishop’s weed to revert back to solid green. You may even notice areas of solid green leaves and variegated leaves mixed together in a single patch. Unfortunately, you may not have much control over this phenomenon.


Variegation loss in bishop’s weed may be more prevalent in shady areas, where the plant has the misfortune of both low light and low chlorophyll, which are required for photosynthesis. Going green may be a survival tactic; as the plant goes green, it produces more chlorophyll and is able to absorb more energy from sunlight.

You may be able to do some trimming and pruning of trees or shrubs that keep your bishop’s weed plant in shade. Otherwise, variegation loss in bishop’s weed is probably irreversible. The only answer is to learn to enjoy the non-variegated, bluish-green leaves. After all, it’s just as attractive.

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