James O'Neill

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Posts posted by James O'Neill

  1. Agreed Phil, there is very little respect for habitats and protected areas as it is and it's very sad! Look at the case of the Nightingales at Lodge Hill, Kent (http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/placestovisit/northwardhill/b/northwardhill-blog/archive/2016/04/22/lodge-hill-and-the-nightingales.aspx); or the Gwent levels in Wales, where they want to plough a motorway through (http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/M4). No respect for the protections put in place. There are often people fighting the good fight in these cases, but it's a horrible thing to have to try to protect an area which should already be in safe hands!

    But I certainly don't trust an independent British Tory government to look after our environment to any extent - some of the things they have advocated could have been hideous had they not been overshadowed by the EU - legalisation of neonic pesticides is an example. Badger culls, and continuation of the desecration of uplands and illegal raptor persecution for the unfortunate industry of driven grouse shooting are other examples of how the government show complete apathy to our environment - at least, in the latter case, the EU may have been slow about it, but it has indeed issued a warning for Natural England and land managers to clean up their act in English moorlands, see: https://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/rspb-complaint-sparks-european-legal-action-over-grouse-moor-burning/

    With a place in the EU, we can also influence how others treat their environment - the recent case of the EU's pressure on Malta to discontinue spring hunting for two declining bird species - the quail and turtle dove - is a perfect example. My local MEPs did their bit and I am grateful for their input into the matter. Malta has been a mixed success, but it has agreed to end spring hunting of turtle doves, as well as providing better enforcement and stronger punishments for illegal bird hunting.

    I prefer to remain an optimist. When it comes to our biodiversity, there's still a lot to fight for, and I will do what I can to ensure its survival! As it is my passion in life, it is my main reasoning for how I vote in this referendum. Nobody has given any indication of what laws will be put in place to replace the EU habitats directive, and as far as I see it, a brexit would be stepping into a meadow in a dark night with people running blindly about and trampling all the flowers, bees and butterflies underfoot.

  2. Sorry fellas. Biodiversity is my main concern in this matter and I have not been given any indication of how well protected our wildlife and habitats will be if we leave. The EU habitats directive is a massive force for good in nature conservation, and I would rather keep this protection than jump into the unknown. If a brexit occurs unfortunately I do not think the environment will be top priority in most lawmaker's minds.

    • Like 3
  3. I've been wondering this for some time; surprsied it hasn't been covered already here! And it's why I've been getting some plants from the EU quickly in case there ends up being a brexit.

    I'm firmly on the stay side. If not for our trade, but for our environment. Despite its flaws, the EU habitats directive is a powerful force for protecting our sensitive habitats. In the recent new manifesto produced by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs of Northern Ireland, despressingly, not one mention is made about our landscape, habitats, and protected species, but is full of how we can develop the countryside for people. If we leave the EU, our biodiversity is going to get shanked.

    • Like 1
  4. I only have a few typical Dionaea, but they are doing great. Somehow only having a couple of plants makes me really love them!

     

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    My Cephalotus doesn't have as large pitchers as it did a few years ago, but it has spread with many more growth points. More pitchers are now being grown, plus 5 flower stalks (which I cut off all but 1).

     

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    The only Nepenthes that is looking good for me at the moment is, unbelieveably, a windowsill-grown seed-grown specimen of N. robcantleyi QoH x KoS - it used to grow very slow, but has sped up recently, and each pitcher is better and better, the most recent being 10cm high!

     

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    Pinguicula agnata which has thrived through many a long drought yet flowers like its in paradise!

     

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    P. vulgaris:

     

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    My Drosera regia is recovering after a horrible prolonged aphid infestation last year, but is building in size nicely this year. I am making sure it is well fed!

     

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    My set of writhing tentacles that is D. filiformis: this plant is many years old and has never been divided.

     

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    The next three Drosera were recieved only 3 weeks ago from Tobias Kulig - lovely well grown plants which have continued on like they were never posted!

     

    D. graomogolensis is so beautiful, fast growing and I love it!

     

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    D. slackii is also beautiful and each leaf is bigger and bigger!

     

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    D. hamiltonii is a bit slower growing, but dewing up nicely and will look lovely when it has made a few more leaves.

     

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    The natives pot - A very large and vigorous D. x obovata with D. rotundifolia (and a naughty D. filiformis seedling in the back that needs transplanted!

     

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    One of my many D. binata - but this one stays small and delicate and will look great hanging up.

     

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    • Like 5
  5. It's been a while since I last posted here! The last couple of years has been very busy with university, fieldwork, and travelling around various parts of Europe, with much time spent away from home. While I found time to tend to and tidy the hardy plants in the greenhouse from time to time, as a result my indoor collection, which I was very proud of, has shrunk considerably due to neglect and pests. I am looking to build it up again to some extent, especially with Drosera and Utricularia (I can't believe I lost my prized flowering specimens of U. quelchii and praetermissa - there was some sort of isopod arthropod in the moss which ate at the stolons and the damage was done before I noticed! :( )

     

    However, the run of nice weather recently has left things looking very nice in the greenhouse!

     

    Plenty of growth on the sarras!

     

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    This is my tallest Sarra *so far* this year - but it may be beaten by an x alava. It's S. flava rugellii MK F143 'Tall clone'. Great robust pitcher, 96 cm tall, with a huge lid and lovely throat!

     

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    Gorgeous tall flava ornatas

     

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    This promising-looking rubricorpora seedling has been lurking unnoticed in a corner for goodness know show long until I found it and was delighted with its colour!

     

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    Orange flowers of Brook's Hybrid:

     

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    One of my favourites, MK H26 - flava x alata, just opened. This should go deep crimson all over later in the season.

     

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    I love the small sweet red flowers of rubras en masse - in front is jonesii, left is wherryi yellow flower, back is alabamensis

     

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    And wherryi 'Chatom Giant':

     

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    Leucos are starting to pop open too:

     

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    My first ever Darlingtonia flowers! they're lovely, and remind me of Fritillary lilies.

     

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    The whole Darly plant - ridiculous numbers of stolons being produced, not that I'm complaining!

     

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    More to come!!
     

  6. Thanks Aymeric!

    they look good James,do you find they stop pitchering this time of year due to not much sun,and do you have any problems with summer heat through the glass,also what kind of humidity do your plants receive ,i grow a couple in a southern window and plan to place some more there next spring,cheers

    Some stop pitchering, however some actually keep going through the winter - I think its the low winter sun that helps.

    I don't know the humidity but I would make a guess at 40-50%. Though that could be wrong.

  7. Are these for the windowsill? If so there are a great number of potential species to be able to grow, depending on your conditions (I'm assuming your house doesn't go under 10C)

    N. maxima, N. platychila, N. burbidgeae, N. gymnamphora, ramispina, vogelii, bongso, boschiana, truncata, khasiana, tobaica, fusca, stenophylla, sanguinea.....a large number of species can be acclimatised to grow on windowsills.

    As for genders - you're simply going to have to shop around and do plenty of asking. Though keep in mind, getting most neps to flower can take a good while! And the chances of your male and female flowering at the same time is small.

    But enjoy nepenthes! They require patience but are very rewarding.

    • Like 1
  8. With winter coming and the sarras all brown in the greenhouse, I still have the tropicals to keep me happy. Here, I'll show off some of my best Nepenthes that I grow in my windows.

    You've already met my wonderful mini maxima in another thread:

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    My pride and joy, N. hamata. It has grown at a reasonable speed but has been attacked by spider mites over the last couple of years. I recently eliminated them and it has started to produce great pitchers again.

    It has also formed 3 basal shoots.

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    The pitchers are about 15cm high

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    My N. platychila has also done very well - each subsequent pitcher is bigger and although it grows slowly, it has never presented any problems.

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    This is it a few months back when it had more pitchers:

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    N. burbidgeae - sometimes gets sulky, but when it does pitcher it does so impressively!

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    N. gymnamphora. This likes its humidity.

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    N. x (adnata x ventricosa), a seedling with potential.

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    N. x Predator. The pitcher is about 20cm tall. This plant has also produced about 5 basal plants. This should be good to see it grow.

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    There are some I haven't included as well but those are for another time.

    Hope you enjoy.

    • Like 5
  9. Right, that why I meantion genetic drift, which isn't really a form of adaption via evolution, but due to the fact DNA cannot be replicated perfectly isolated populations accumulate different mutations. These populations might be subject to the same evironmental pressures, but simply due to they cannot inherit the same mutations, they end up slowly changing anyway. This appears to be the main method of speciation in Heliamphora. It would seem 5,000 years is barely a blip in this long process.

    I can imagine that the genetic drift evolution process could take a very long time, especially if the plant or animal were already at maximum or near maximum evolutionary equilibrium!

    Actually, it seems evolution happens in jerks and spurts, I think it is called punctauted equilibrium.

    Yep. The fossil record seems to support the theory.

    http://en.wikipedia....ted_equilibrium

    Evolution of bacteria happens very fast. In one of our generations, they can have 55,000 generations. That lets them evolve a whole lot faster.

    There even is evolution in cancer. The longer cancer sticks around, the harder it is to kill. If the Chemo does kill off, the tiny bits that do grow back can have mutated into Chemo resistant varieties--simply by being exposed to the same environmental stress of the treatment and the resulting selective pressure.

    That is of course a good point and something I hadn't considered when I had asked my question - the lapse of time between generations. Of course organisms with a faster breeding rate and more offspring are going to have the ability to evolve in a shorter time frame.

    But if we simply take the number of generations into account, leaving time out, I would expect that no organism could potentially evolve faster than other. But it depends on so many factors that I don't think it's really possible to demonstrate that!

    I'm reading one of Dawkins' books at the moment, it's covering all of this and more and makes for fascinating reading. Plus I've got several more linedd up waiting to be read.

  10. So they seem to indicate the species in that location have been there for about 5,000 years. This disjunct population hasn't "evolved" into another species despite the isolation; which indicates to me that speciation by genetic drift takes a long time in Pinguicula.

    5000 years isn't a particularly long time in evolutionary terms. While it has been seen that some species can evolve into new forms (I avoid the term 'new species') in this time frame and shorter, it is reasonable to suppose that there are many more cases where significant change does not occur in just 5000 years. Especially if the environmental conditions do not change giving the species no reason to change.

    If there was a reason for the plant to adapt, it possibly could have. It's just my thoughts that it isn't right to assume that speciation in Pinguicula takes a long time just because a plant is the same as it was 5000 years ago. I'm not particularly educated on the subject, but can speciation happen faster in some organisms than others? I would not have thought so, I always considered that external environmental factors would play the biggest part along with rate of random genetic mutation.

    Just interested to know your thoughts David?

    I wonder if the plants on Svalbard catch many insects - they would need to build up their stores as they probably spend most of their lives dormant!

  11. I have got N. maxima from three Sulawesi locations that appear to have the gracile way of growing. BE's variety from Tentena, the one from Luwuk, and a variety (Elongated form) that Stewart collected seed of near Lore Lindu. I do have some N. maxima from Poso as well. Although still young, from the looks of it, they appear similar to my other forms.

    I wonder if the "true" mini N. maxima that was found in Sulawesi ever made it into cultivation. If so, it would be interesting to know if they stay short in cultivation as well, or start to vine like the gracile form found elsewhere on that island.

    What is the 'true' mini maxima you speak of?

    I also have an elongated form from S. McPherson's seed. It is very different however to my mini maxima. Very different pitcher, peristome, pattern and leaf shape.