The occurrence of somaclonal variation is described in various cultures of agronomic interest. Such variation can be of benefit in the development of new flower varieties. In this study, the occurrence of somaclonal variation in micropropagated changes of Heliconia bihai cv. Lobster Claw I was investigated. Stem apexes were introduced in MS culture media with the addition of 2.5 mg L-1 of benzylaminopure (BAP) and 500 mg L-1 of sodium cefotaxime. After selecting the apex stem, it was sub-cultivated in MS media and supplemented with 4.0 mg L-1 of BAP to induce side buds. To conduct the trial, 2,000 plants were selected and compared with plants originated from rhizomes. To calculate the percentage of the variants, the plant stature, the form and color of leaves and pseudostem were evaluated. The plants with buds presenting the same type of variation were considered as variants. The occurrence of three types of somaclonal variants was observed: Variation of the Chlorophyll in the Leaf, Low Stature Variant and Pseudostem and Petiole Color Variant, the latter with ornamental potential. The somaclonal variation rate for Heliconia bihai cv Lobster Claw I, under the proposed conditions, was 61.40%.
tissue culture; flower growing; variability