Carbon incorporated zinc oxide (ZnO:C) nanowires (NWs) are found to be remarkable morphing nanowires. We show that the physical properties of ZnO:C NW are engineered via the passage of electric current to produce fluorescence differences, negative differential resistance as well as electroluminescence. When a ZnO:C NW is subjected to an applied voltage bias and under ultraviolet (UV) excitation, electron-hole separation due to the voltage biasing suppresses their fluorescence at low voltages. At medium voltages, the NW exhibits metastable chemical changes that translates to tuneable and reversible optical alterations akin to metachrosis found in chameleons. Concurrently, the NW displays electrical alterations with negative differential resistance behaviours. At higher voltages, these NWs are permanently modified with distinct heterogeneous chemical stoichiometry, fluorescence and electronic properties. Such heterogeneity within the NW allows for emergence of junctions capable of electroluminescence.