This research identifies a novel protein required for paramutation at the maize purple plant1 locus. This 'required to maintain repression2' (RMR2) protein represents the founding member of a plant-specific clade of hypothetical proteins. We show that RMR2 is required for transcriptional repression at the Pl1-Rhoades haplotype, for accumulation of 24 nt RNA species, and for maintenance of a 5-methylcytosine pattern distinct from that maintained by RNA polymerase IV. Genetic tests indicate that RMR2 is not required for paramutation occurring at the red1 locus. These results distinguish the paramutation-type mechanisms operating at specific haplotypes. The RMR2 clade of proteins provides a new entry point for understanding the diversity of epigenomic control operating in higher plants. Overall design: Examination of small RNAs using Illumina's sequencing-by-synthesis (SBS) platform to deep sequence small RNA libraries made from the 4-cm cobs of rmr2 mutant and non-mutant siblings.