Recently, heavy ions or ion beams have been used to generate new mutants or varieties, especially in higher plants. It has been found that ion beams show high relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of growth inhibition, lethality, and so on, but the characteristics of ion beams on mutation have not been clearly elucidated. To understand the effect of ion beams on mutation induction, mutation rates were investigated using visible known Arabidopsis mutant phenotypes, indicating that mutation frequencies induced by carbon ions were 20-fold higher than by electrons. In chrysanthemum and carnation, flower-color and flower-form mutants, which are hardly produced by gamma rays or X rays, were induced by ion beams. Novel mutants and their responsible genes, such as UV-B resistant, serrated petals and sepals, anthocyaninless, etc. were induced by ion beams. These results indicated that the characteristics of ion beams for mutation induction are high mutation frequency and broad mutation spectrum and therefore, efficient induction of novel mutants. On the other hand, PCR and sequencing analyses showed that half of all mutants induced by ion beams possessed large DNA alterations, while the rest had point-like mutations. Both mutations induced by ion beams had a common feature that deletion of several bases were predominantly induced. It is plausible that ion beams induce a limited amount of large and irreparable DNA damage, resulting in production of a null mutation that shows a new mutant phenotype.