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Found 4 results

  1. I remember being in college and having a conversation with a fellow CP expert. He saw how "addicted" I was to Sarracenias, and he said that eventually, I'll probably get bored of them, and then move on and focus on something else. As the years went by, I always reflected on that conversation and thought, how can you get bored of Sarracenias? Within one species, there's as much diversity out there as you can imagine (sadly, there used to be even more than that until most of it was destroyed in the wild). The photos below really demonstrate why many of us will be hooked on pitcher plants till the day we die. There isn't just one S. leucophylla alba out there, but there are hundreds of thousands of individuals, and just like humans, each individual is special and unique. Even regular leucophyllas out there are bright white. Let's say that theoretically, one becomes bored because they've seen and grown 1000's of different clones of every species and variety. Well, then there's the path to hybridization,which probably takes at least 2-3 lifetimes to really explore the endless possibilities. In other words, a lifetime isn't enough time to really experience Sarracenias! all photos below were taken 9/10/13 in northern Baldwin Co, AL: S. leucophylla var. alba-check out how white the interior of the trap is: Another S. leucophylla var. alba, this time with nice red "netting" on the outside: A regular S. leucophylla with heavy "veining." S. leucophylla var. ornata? Shhhh, don't tell Stewart McPherson, hehe Just kidding: Love how the petiole or trap is skiny on the bottom and fat/symmetical at the top: Same clone, but view of the back. Look at how white this clone is! S. leucophylla var. (maybe alba?): A standard looking clump: Mildly pink lip-this clone will probably turn darker pink in the next few months: S. leucophylla var. alba-can you see how no one "var. alba" looks exactly the same? A shapely reddish-pink clone. These red and pink pigments probably come from historic interbreeding with S. rosea and/or S. "alabamensis" ssp. wherryi: Lots of white on this clone, with a beautiful contrasting red at the bottom. Nature is a work of art: Same clone, slightly different angle:
  2. This plant produced some very white traps this year. Photos taken 8/30/14, which is actually pretty early for outdoors in California. Normally, we don't have the best pitchers until late September/early October:
  3. The best flava rugelii site I've ever seen is also the scariest site I've ever been to. Damon & Axel of California Carnivores accompanied me on a trip to the deep south, and we're talkin' DEEP South! The site is located deep in the forest on dirt roads that don't show up on the maps, and judging by the lack of foot traffic, this spot isn't visited very often, or so we thought! Being in a very isolated forest far from civilization has both it's charm and danger: one minute, you're in paradise, standing in front of hundreds of thousands of wild plants that are giant and thriving. In the snap of a finger, you're in survival mode making decisions while adrenaline rushes through your body. This site was recently burned, and there was a massive amount of seedlings everywhere, which indicates a very healthy and thriving population. While there are flava sites in the Carolinas that are larger than this site, this is by far the largest population of flavas I've ever seen in the wild. Literally, as far as the eye can see, there's a "river" of flavas that follow a gentle slope, much like how Darlingtonias are found in seeps: Notice how they all grow in what looks like a river that's somewhat dried out. It wasn't extremely wet at this site, but it wasn't dry either: The usual suspects, Damon Collingsworth and Axel Bostom of California Carnivores: Some more habitat shots: I was surprised to find some very bright white S. leucophylla var. albas here. We've seen a lot of sites in Okaloosa Co, FL, and very few had albas like this: They weren't really eating much this time of the year which is strange because last year, every single trap was loaded with insects. The flavas were also not very well fed: Stunning beauties like this were everywhere, and they were gigantic! I hear Damon and Axel yelling at me to go back and we had only been there for a good 15 minutes. Granted, I'm always the one who wants to stay, but in this case I was like "Really? We literally just got here, C'mon man!" I stubbornly said I'll be there in a minute-for the love of Jesus, I had barely taken any pictures yet! But then I saw them running at me frantically, and I wasn't sure of what to make of that, so I took a picture: Axel: "Mike, did you just hear that?" Mike: "hear what?" We paused for a second and heard a creepy whistle that started out in monotone and then ended with an upglide, followed by a gunshot in our direction! It continued 2 more times, and worst of all, the sound was coming from the direction of our car, which was not close but not too far away. I've done a lot of shooting, and it sounded like either a 12 gauge or 20 gauge shotgun, so I knew unless he had sluggers in there, we're safe if we're far away from him. We did our due diligence prior to "boggin" and knew hunting this time of year is with bow and arrow only, and who goes out to the middle of the forest on a TUESDAY in the middle of nowhere?! Okay, to give Damon and Axel credit, they weren't being wussies because it was 100F out there and it felt like 115F, we were definitely in some serious danger. Damon and Axel were about a 1000 yards from me and because of the hilly nature of the site, a lot of the sound gets absorbed so it's hard to hear even a loud cry for help or gunshot nearby. We were in trouble. I was pumped with adrenaline and in survival mode, and rationalized that there were two options: creep back to the car carefully while hiding behind trees and scouting the situation, or find another road and follow it back to the highway. I have a 6th sense when it comes to directions and wasn't worried about getting lost, but we decided it made more sense to see if we can scout out the situation because without water, you're in even more danger. IT's tough finding drinking water in an area that is as warm and hostile as NW Florida (it hasn't rained much recently). We all decided to slowly check out the car after a little bit of time had passed and the gunshots ceased. As we carefully approached the car, it was still there in perfect condition and nobody was in sight. Needless to say, we got into the car as quickly as possible and left at BALLER speed on the sketchy dirt road. Take home message is that even with a lot of experience and a good size group, people don't realize just how dangerous it is out there. One second you're in paradise and in the blink of an eye, you're in fight or flight mode. More to come, this wasn't the only gunshots we heard on the trip!
  4. Unforunately, 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!