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First off, for those of you not familiar with this variant, S. flava 'extreme red throat' is an unofficial, fictitious name to describe a plant that has more red in the throat than the average S. flava var. rugelii. Some would call this plant a rugelii, while others may call it an ornata. I think neither best describes these plants because some of the pitchers don't have veins, some are a bit reddish, and others are rather green. For those of you who want to see "the plant that started this whole thing" here's "the type specimen": http://sarracenia.proboards.com/thread/229/flava-killer-new-pics-added We suspect all of these extreme red throat variants are the result of hybridization and mixing with different species, and then back-crossing. what are the exact ingredients? Maybe a dash of S. flava var. rubricorpora, and a glug of rugelii, or maybe a selfed rubricorpora x rugelii that has a rubricorpora phenotype. Alternately, there may be a moorei here and there that has an extreme red thoat, and then it back-crosses with rugelii to create a "pure" looking plant with an extreme red throat. In the case of the Bay Co, FL plants, it's likely that these extreme red throated plants resulted from mixing with "regular" rugelii's. We did see some rubricorporas at this site that had very solid red throats, but the tricky thing is tracing nature backwards and trying to find out what crossed with what. Only in cultivation or with DNA tests can we find out exactly what's going on. There are a lot of interesting observations about this site that I will explain in detail in another post. For now, this post will focus on the extreme red throat variants. All photos were taken 8/23/14: If this isn't an extreme red throat, I don't know what is: The body on this one is almost pure red, and I wonder if it can turn solid red depending on environmental conditions. For this reason, I don't call this variant ornata: On the other hand, this one is definitely an ornata: Beautiful greenish body to contrast with the deep red: Love this one, even with the "battle wounds": This trap didn't want to cooperate: Some of them turned out "normal" in terms of the amount of red in the throat: Wanna-be extreme red throat: I think this new late summer trap came from a plant that had rubricorpora-colored pitchers on it. The waters are so muddy on nomenclature, but we can debate that in another post :) Deformed pitcher: Another "regular" rugelii, but not quite regular: Slightly out of focus, but this gives you an idea of what the whole plant looks like: And to end the post, a really cute little baby deer that didn't move even when we came really close to it. Believe me, after being shot at, I know exactly how that deer feels.
Here's a site that we didn't get shot at thankfully! Notice how the plants here are very sparse and not densely packed like at other sites. My impression is that this population is a lot younger than other places we visited. The good news is there were lots of seedlings and the site was definitely burned in the past year or two. When it's easy to walk through the field and the grasses aren't knee high, you know it's being managed/burned: Unlike the main rubricorpora site, this site had a mixture of variants, with S. flava var. rugelii being the dominant type: Another shot: if you look carefully, this field is loaded with Drosera filiformis: This field went on for days, we eventually had to stop exploring because it kept going on forever: And now let's examine some individuals, starting with the S. flava var. rugelii's. Gosh, so many clones out in this field that are stunning. This may be a common plant, but the slight variation from one individual to the next is endless: Skinny neck: This one has a huge lid. Notice how there's only one trap per growth point (I'm guessing all of these traps are from the same clone), despite the fact that this plant is getting blazing full sun. Perhaps the insect population was slim this year and last year, so the plant ran out of energy after the first trap was produced in the spring. I've seen this same growth pattern happen in cultivation as well: the plant will produce one gigantic trap and that's it. The next year, it'll produce a bunch small to medium sized traps, and the following year, it'll again produce one giant: Hard to tell the scale of things, but here's the same plant. This lid is gigantic: These plants barely caught anything this year. In previous years, they were filled almost to the top: Now what the hay is going on here? We determined it's something environmental because there were normal rugelii traps on this exact plant: Mechanical damage can cause plants to produce anthocyanins that they would otherwise not produce. I wonder if this trap cooked in the blistering heat one day, or got rained on so hard that there were microscopic lesions on the trap which caused the plant to do this? If so, why was there only 2-3 plants in this entire field that produced these red pigments on otherwise pure yellow plants? Still not sure what's going on here: But whatever it is, it's absolutely beautiful: