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Sarracenia leucophylla 'RED' Washington Co, AL
meizwang posted a topic in SarraceniaRed variants of S. leucophylla from Washington County Alabama are almost unheard of and are extremely rare, but they do exist. To recap, I suspect the red pigments in S. leucophylla originated from hybridizing with other species and then back-crossing with lecuophylla several generations to the point that you can't tell it was originally of hybrid origin. In Santa Rosa and okaloosa Co, FL leucophylla crossed mainly with flavas and roseas to get the red pigments. On the other hand, I suspect the washington Co, AL leucophyllas crossed with alata and rubra wherryi to get these red pigments! This makes them very genetically unique. Normally, the red pigments are found concentrated below the white on the petiole, which gives a strong contrasting look (ie. red plants from Walton Co, FL, Franklin Co, FL, Okaloosa Co, FL, Covington Co, AL variants). In some cases, the whole pitcher becomes reddish as the trap ages. On the other hand, freshly opened pitchers on the Washington Co, AL have red that is suffused with the white and just below the white pigments on the petiole! If I had to guess, rubra wherryi is the reason you see this difference. Photos taken 10/5/16: This thing has a really FAT lip too, almost looks kinda like a nepenthes peristome without the "lines": The kink in the trap is environmental: The spring traps were much redder, but I think I transplanted it in early summer so the adjustment caused this plant to not be as red. it'll be interesting to see what the traps look like next spring.
field of leucophyllas in cultivation! (various populations)
meizwang posted a topic in SarraceniaI've always wanted to produce a gigantic field of leucophllas and have been attempting to do that forever, but haven't really been able to get anywhere. It just takes way too many plants, and you have to space them out much more than any other species (or so it seems) in order to get good fall traps. Well, now that I'm in this new location, space isn't much of a limitation, so the first attempt to make a field of leucos was made. Turns out, it's more like 2 rows of leucos than a field, but good enough! Technically speaking, this isn't one population, but multiple populations from various localities. There's albas, pinks, reds, regulars, and weirdos all up in the mix. These looked a bit ratty all summer long because there were tons of spring traps that had fallen over and turned brown, but I spent all weekend cleaning them up and now they look pretty nice! Interestingly enough, there are some late summer traps, but the main fall traps haven't yet shot out yet, so these will likely become even more impressive prolly in the next month or so. The growth points on many plants are showing fall traps, but a few are still spitting out phyllodia. Here's some pics, photos taken 8/14/16: Here you can see some of the bigger "fall traps" being produced. They're sparse at this time of year, and usually we don't see these traps until September at the earliest here in Northern California: I took a couple of "face" shots from the population, and they'll probably look more impressive in a few weeks. These late summer traps are generally a lot more dull looking, but still interesting enough to post: One of the sneakiest chameleons of them all, S. leucophylla var. alba Covington Co, AL. Sometimes, the fall traps look like regular leucophylla, but I finally caught this one looking quite white: a peculiar looking leucophylla from northern Baldwin Co, AL. Probably had some hybridizing in it's distant past: If the late summer trap on this S. leucophylla Baldwin Co, AL looks like this, can't wait to see the fall traps! Last year, this clone only produced phyllodia, but this year it has some strong looking growth emerging: I think this one is washington Co, AL: A typical trap from Eastern Alabama. These genotypes tend to produce both strong spring and fall pitchers here in Northern California, and are possibly more resilient to cooler grow season temps: This clone from Baldwin Co, AL had been pollinated, and I don't see any fall traps emerging regretfully. A lot of the times, when the plant focuses energy into seed production, it doesn't always have a spectacular fall show: Same trap as above: Random clone, no idea where it's from. Nice "asparagus" fall pitcher developing in the background: Now this is a washington Co, AL leuco: Yup, even my wife said this one was "cute" and she has the highest standards out of anyone I know:
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!
The parrot pitcher plant grows in a lot of places, and their frequency in Sarracenia habitats are relatively high. With such high population numbers comes great genetic diversity, and in Washington Co, AL, there are certainly some unique and amazing looking individuals. This is the samne area where the giant "golfbalensis" parrot pitcher plant comes from, and no doubt, many of these were pretty big. Unfortunately, it seems like I didn't take too many photos of these awesome plants, probably because most of them were so hidden in the tall grasses (hindsight is 20/20!). Almost everywhere in these habitats, if you were to dig into the thick, tall grass, you'd surely find a few parrot pitcher plants in there. We probably didn't see even a fraction of what was out there, as they were hard to find. However, there were a few that were exposed in full sun. S. psittacina in situ, Washington Co, AL. Check out the dark red colors on this plant! These were growing in a "wash" where a stream or temporary flood cleared away shrubs and brush. Notice how the substrate is mainly this powdery, white sand with a little bit of organic matter: This isn't an example of thick grass...this is considered an "exposed" plant easily visible as you walk by: Plants in this area had dark red colors: My attempt to photograph a plant-these were definitely tough to capture: Check out the beautiful the white and red veins on this trap: This one was really neat-it was growing in some thick shrubs that probably used to be an open field many years ago: Same clone-the white on this one was intense! One last shot:
While in Sarracenia territory, we happened to stumble upon a couple of pinguiculas in the wild. Butterworts weren't found at many sites, but when they were there, they grew in abundance. Interestingly enough, they could be found in areas that no sarracenia (has ever gone before, hehe) could ever survive because it was way too dry! Perhaps these Southern butterworts are somewhat like their mexican cousins in the sense that they produce relatively succulent leaves, which allow them to tolerate more drought-like conditions. Their compact growth and small surface area may also be the reason they can grow in these dry areas. We mostly saw Pingicula lutea in a lot of sites, and I was shocked to see many of these yellow flowered butterworts produced thin, pencil-like elongated leaves. unfortunately, I don't think I photographed any . Perhaps this is because the grass gets so tall by end of the summer that they have to find some way to get more light, or else they'll bite the dust. I had been dreaming of finding P. primuliflora before the trip (never seen it in situ before), and on the plane ride home, I lamented that we didn't see any....until we went over the photos and realized we did see them!!!! Sorry Fernando, if you're out there, we didn't mean to let you down with our crappy ping skills :) Anyhow, here are the photos! P. lutea in situ at the S. rubra wherryi roadside site in Washington Co, AL. Notice how just like the rubra wherryi's, the pings also survived being run over by a tractor...they're tough little gems: Closer shot of a single plant from the same site: medium was this really fine, silty clay with a pinch of well decomposed organic, peaty material mixed in: I think this is another roadside population in washington Co, AL: They loved to inhabit the open areas, and seemed to thrive in full sun: Brown chicken, brown cow!!! Yes, these are that hot (to me at least): These were huge P. lutea plants-just beautiful: I wasn't meant to be a photographer: Here's some growing at a site in okaloosa Co, FL: Drosera capillaris (?) is a common companion plant: Butterworts were worse to find than S. psittacina-this is what you're typically up against...can you find the P. lutea in this picture? Some of the P. luteas were pretty big: P. primuliflora was growing in the very wet, boggy areas. Okaloosa Co, FL: A closer shot-I'm double guessing myself, but I'm sorta sure these are primulifloras: One last shot:
S. leucophylla site #1 Washington Co, AL
meizwang posted a topic in Carnivorous Plants in HabitatUnforunately, I don't have very good news about the sites in Washington Co, AL. Prior to visiting this area, I had heard that many of the amazing sites that used to exist in this area were recently destroyed due to a road widening project. It's really sad how little the local people know about the botanical paradise that grows literally in their backyard. I explained to the hotel owner that night that we were out to see carnivorous plants, and he had no idea they were even in the area! That same night, Damon showed a restaurant owner a picture of a S. leucophylla and asked them if they've ever seen this plant before or recognized it. While she did comment on how beautiful it was, surprisingly, she had never seen one, EVER! I was under the impression that this restaurant owner has been there for quite some time, as indicated by how well she knew all the of the other customers. The sad truth is this used to be one of the main hotspots for Sarracenias, and now they're so rare, local people don't even know they're there! Washington County, AL used to have vast acres upon acres of plants. Today, there are little relic patches here and there, and just like in Baldwin Co, AL, these sites have succumbed to tree farming and other agricultural activities....From our observations, one of the main reasons for their near extinction in this area is tree farming! To top it off, the use of round-up (an herbicide) was rampant in this area. Even in the middle of nowhere, road workers have figured out it's easier and faster to spray the weeds on the side of the road than it is to mow them! The reality is this area is quite impoverished, and local people are doing whatever they can to get by. Despite all the negative activities, I'm happy to report that plants in this area still exist as of 2013! They have endured all these years of being beaten up with chemicals and plows, and hopefully, some of these sites will continue to exist. Before we take a tour of the plants, ever wondered what a fire ant hill looks like? They're called fire ants because when they bite, they inject formic acid, which cause a sharp, hot sting! I don't know what it feels like, but ask Axel Bostrom of California Carnivores...he got bit to threads. Here's the mound before I kicked it over: And literally a second after being kicked over, there are 1000's of angry ants moving really fast, ready to bite. These mounds are EVERYWHERE in sarracenia habitats, and it's as horrifying as it looks: A nice pink lipped S. leucophylla filled with love bugs: Pretty much every single trap out there was loaded with love bugs: A neat greenish clone-notice how this population looks very different from the Baldwin Co, AL plants: more love bugs: Nice Lynx spider: I just love the way these washington Co, AL plants look: A little bouquet-notice the old, large pitcher, indicating nice spring/summer pitchers: Another nice plant: group shot: [ There were gigantic populations of S. leucophylla here, but unfortunately, they were growing in thick brush, and they looked like this. Without a burn or clearing, these will eventually perish: But on a brighter note (literally!), there were some amazing var. albas here: And to end the show, this S. leucophylla var. alba is one of the best that I saw out there!