MySQL Varchar Max Length Confusion

I was always under the impression that varchar maximun length was 255.

Values in VARCHAR columns are variable-length strings. The length can be specified as a value from 0 to 255 before MySQL 5.0.3, and 0 to 65,535 in 5.0.3 and later versions. The effective maximum length of a VARCHAR in MySQL 5.0.3 and later is subject to the maximum row size (65,535 bytes, which is shared among all columns) and the character set used.

http://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.0/en/char.html

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