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Sadly, it seems like S. leucophylla from Franklin County, FL is doing better in cultivation than in the wild. Granted, there are several populations we didn't see that are hopefully doing well, but of the ones we saw, they were in decline and had very few individuals. There were no signs of seedlings. The few individuals that we did see are in great health and had multiple growth points, but the low numbers of individuals compared to historic numbers indicates these sites are in danger. Much effort is being undertaken to restore some of these sites. Even though they may be in bad shape today, there's great hope in the future that they will be back to where they should be. Both habitats we saw were completely altered by humans, and one site was flooded earlier this year so the only plants that survived were the ones on the edge of the waterline or on islands that weren't fully submerged in water. For those of you who have grown S. leucophylla, many of the genotypes out there aren't very forgiving when it comes to flooding the roots: they tend to rot very easily. Running water isn't a problem nor are large pools of water, but when you have a stagnant drainage ditch with low oxygen levels, that's when rot kicks in. Here's the habitat for S. lecuophylla in Franklin Co, FL. This used to be a site planted with trees that was harvested. S. flava var. rugelii can be seen in this photo: There were probably more plants here, but we only found 2 or 3 clumps. Traps hadn't yet formed, so it was hard to spot them: We were a few weeks early: I did find one trap that was open, and you can tell there are some nice red genetics here: An old summer trap: At another site, we probably found maybe 15 plants total. This plant pictured below was found growing on the edge of a drainage ditch. The ditch was previous filled with water, but now it's so dry you can walk in it. Plants only grew on the sides of the ditch or on islands that weren't submerged under water for long periods of time. Unfortunately, this plant is now competing with the surrounding vegetation for light: On the other hand, some clumps here looked decently healthy: A closer look at a new pitcher opening: This clump had many new pitchers forming: Just opened: They are much more beautiful in cultivation. Here's S. leucophylla clone A x B (select clone) Franklin Co, FL, photo taken last year in 2013: Not a very exciting report, but we definitely learned a thing or two.
There are perhaps only a handful or two of large populations of S. leucophylla left in the wild. The majority that still remain are either relic patches of a once giant field of plants, or volunteers in modified habitats (ie. man made drainage ditches). Many of the historically giant populations are now either destroyed, or if they haven't been touched whatsoever, they are now etiolated plants growing in thick, dense forests. Before people dominated the landscape and plowed or altered every square acre of land, fires would come in and burn up the forest, creating new habitats for Sarracenias to colonize. Today, those forest are mainly homes, structures, and farms where fire isn't permitted since it would damage people's property. It's surprising how short lived many of these sites are, especially during the more recent times. On the other hand, they're still there, and they've struggled to survive the face of human negligence. This site below only exists because a power company consistently clears the grasses every year or so to protect their electrical equipment. On the side of the road nearby, I had already seen signs of round-up (herbicide) use, and it's only a matter of time when they spray this field. One application of herbicide can ruin centuries of growth. If I had to bet, this site will be sprayed in the next few years once they realize the cost savings. As pessimistic as it may seem, this is the reality for many of these sites. We visited many historic sites that didn't have a single plant left due to annual herbicide applications. However, there are some remote sites like the one below that still exist today, so maybe...just maybe a few will stand the test of time. Enough doom and gloom talk, let's check out these beautiful fields! Here are some S. leucophylla in Washington Co, AL, photos taken 9/11/13. First couple of photos focus on the field itself-there were 3 large patches at this site: Plants here were as healthy as can be! There's nothing like a huge field of leucophyllas: There were also S. rubra wherryi and S. psittacina (and some giant psitts!) at this site as well, but the grass was really tall, and you could only see the leucos. Still very inspiring to see a patch this size, which is still relatively small compared to what used to exist: thousands of plants everywhere: Tons and tons of plants: Poor Axel Bostrom of California Carnivores stepped on a fire ant hill at this site, and the pain was so extreme, he had to go wait in the car. These hills were hidden deep in the grass, and were EVERYWHERE: More photos of individual plants coming soon. This site had some amazing diversity which we will explore in a little bit, so stay tuned!
Before I write my own fieldtrip report on this site, I want to share with you all a fieldtrip report that I have from my files about this exact site. The notes dated all the way back to 1994 (I was in 7th grade at the time!), so when we decided to visit this site, I was a bit skeptical that there would be anything still alive, especially in light of what was seen back in 1994: "the bog was in much worse shape than it was when he was here last time. In the seepage areas of the Savannah flava typica, leucophylla, psittacina, tracyii, capillaris were found. I also found flava leuco hybrids. There were supposed to be pure red flava here, but [he] couldn't find them. Maybe they were dug up, who knows? We took photo and video. We stopped for a bite at a shleppy corner store. Got a good dinner for $3.99." Despite what was said about this site in 1994, there's good news: this bog is very healthy as of Sept. 2013, and the red flavas are still there! More on the red plants in another post...this report will focus on S. leucophylla. Notice the previous visitor mentioned "a seepage area." Again, this site is almost exactly like a Darlingtonia fen in the sense that the plants only grow within the seep, but you won't find a single plant outside of it. Think of these Florida "seeps" as a very slow moving creek, except it's pretty wide and filled with mucky peat. It's boggy and slushy when you walk through it. The seep is between two hills that have a gentle slope, and on each side of the hill is a savanna or grassland mixed with conifers This is another "hilly" site just like the ones in Okaloosa Co, FL, except the slopes are a lot more gentle here. These habitats are very different from the huge fields you see in Baldwin Co, AL, where the plants aren't in some mucky area, but rather grow in the middle of a flat field. Those habitats exist because there is ground water beneath them, so while the surface of the soil may seem relatively dry, there is plenty of water underneath (enough to support Crayfish!) Anyhow, check out this habitat! Photos were taken 9/10/13: It's hard to tell from the photo, but there is a gentle slope on both sides of this seep. Notice the plants in the middle: In the front of this area, there's an "oval" area where you can see leucos and flavas growing. This is the "top" of the bog, where water from uphill is slowly seeping into the wet areas. In the background, there's some thick, green shrubs-this turns into a "wanna-be" creek, where the bog continues to gently roll downhill. The boggy creek that continues gently down the slight hill is very thick with shrubs, but the Sarracenias grow in the middle of the creek: Another shot of the same spot: One more shot: The leucophyllas here were pretty white: Fresh pitcher opening up: some more bright white plants: As you can see, they're very healthy: Standard looking leuco: Beautiful plants-these are growing in the "creek" a bit downhill from the previous photos: Another shot:
S. leucophyllas, Baldwin Co, Alabama
meizwang posted a topic in Carnivorous Plants in Habitat.
This year, we have had some exceptional weather here in Northern California. In late April/Early May, we had a heat wave where the temperatures reached the low 90's (approx. 32C), and in general, there have been many warm days reaching the low 80's (approx. 27C). This abnormally warm weather, coupled with our standard California sunshine, has resulted in earlier than normal pitcher production. S. leucophylla Hurricane Creek White has really benefitted from this warm weather. As discussed in other posts, one of the many great facets of this now extinct in the wild population is that they produce solid spring and fall pitchers. Many other S. leucophylla clones only produce really nice fall pitchers. The spring pitchers are typically bright white, but some can have red pigments in them. While they are impressive, the fall pitchers are typically larger and brighter white. However, when grown as a dense stand as photographed below, these plants are so white that they sometimes glow at night! All of these photos below were taken mid May 2013. These are all spring pitchers of various different clones:
S. leucophylla at UC Davis, California (pics)
meizwang posted a topic in SarraceniaI visited UC Davis yesterday and Ernesto, the curator of the UCD Botanical conservatory, gave me a tour of a new greenhouse (well, relatively new) located on top of one of the science buildings. Back when I was in college, the lab TA's would get ticked off at my friends and I for ditching classes to do tissue culture in another lab (for fun of course) and hang out at the conservatory. I think they would have been less disappointed if we're skipping class to drink booz or smoke dope, haha Anyow, UCD has a pretty neat CP display, and the most note-worthy ones this time of the year was S. leucophylla. I tried to catch Ernesto offguard in this photo, but apparently, he was on high alert and knew I was going to photograph him: A typical S. leucophylla clone: Another clone up close: S. leucophylla Hurricane Creek White-this greenhouse was very warm this time of the year, and there is supplemental lighting as well. Check out the slight yellow tinge on the lower portion of the petiole: This trap was pretty big and the trap felt fuzzy: Another shot-sorry, the light from this angle sucked: In contrast, here are some plants growing outdoors-some of these may be the same clone as photographed above: