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Found 10 results

  1. The most outstanding, jaw dropping extreme red throated S. flava variants I've ever seen anywhere on this planet are from the Eastern Alabama population. We didn't get to see these plants in their prime, but you can tell based on these old pitchers that this is something extraordinary: the interior of the trap is bright red and the color extends up the lid a bit more than your regular rugelii normally does: I think this might be a different clone, but very similar idea: We also found some cut throat "leucophyllas": Hard to tell from this photo, but the lid on this one was slightly white: There were only 2-3 flavas clones in the entire population displaying this slight white top: Population size here was decent, there were a few patches like this: Some were rather gigantic: Pretty much every flava here had a beautiful red throat, although I didn't capture much of that: From left to right: Damon, Kate, and Axel amongst this beautiful patch of well-defined red throated rugeliis: A giant clone: and last but not least, a really giant yet funky looking trap:
  2. Of all the areas I've seen in the wild, Mobile County seems to be the absolute worst in terms of Sarracenia habitat. I thought other places were pretty bad, but even in somewhat remote areas in Mobile Co. where plants have historically existed, we couldn't find anything. In the past, this County was abundant with S. leucophylla, S. rosea, S. psittacina, S. alata, and even some S. flavas were reported to exist way back in the day. Today, if you want to visit the large fields of S. leucophyllas, you can't because that field is now part of a house, and the rest of the former Savanna has been altered for farming purposes. S. flava is extremely rare in Alabama, and it no longer exists in Mobile County. Most of the land we observed here was disturbed or destroyed, very little has been left untouched. We were hopeful to find S. rosea in this area but the plants eluded us, and we had no luck. Do they still exist? I have no idea, but there's still hope that maybe some small pockets of plants are alive. I think this area has been decimated because the big city (Mobile) has a large population, which has placed a tremendous amount of pressure on the land and surrounding vicinity. The closer you are to a large population of people, the less of a chance anything is still extant. It reminds me of the San Francisco Peninsula, California (my hometown): land is so scarce and the population is so dense, even in state owned preserves, populations of rare plants have been recently destroyed to update gas pipelines. Good thing Sarracenia aren't from around here: they would have been extinct decades ago! Most of what we found were the alata/leucophylla hybrids, and some were so overgrown and hard to reach that we didn't get a chance to take photos. Some of the fields that we visited were bone dry and didn't have a single Sarracenia there (although L. catesbaeis were there!). I suspect these areas may have been drained a while back. The good news is we did find one very special patch of plants of almost pure S. alatas! This site is very well managed and will persist in the years to come since it's protected and hidden. Overview of the habitat: in the foreground, you might be able to spot some fringe orchids: Plants here were thriving: and dense, although the grass was starting to get pretty thick despite recent burning: Some neat red throat plants, reminds me of the red throated variants of S. alabamensis: A few hybrids were found, but no pure S. leucophylla were here. It's hard to say what existed decades ago because the surrounding area is surprisingly a dense city: Some of these hybrids were pretty neat: this one made me jealous, hehe: These plants were pretty unique: some had deep maroon throats, and they were pretty big too: Homies in situ. From L to R: Kate, Axel, and Damon: and last but not least, a cool lynx spider:
  3. This post is actually from 2 separate sites in Bay Co, FL. The very first site contains S. leucophylla and S. flava var. rugelii as well, and the second site is pure S. psittacina. Unfortunately, both sites are the result of disturbed or altered land, so they are not the natural, pristine habitats that you see in many of the posts below. The good news is if no herbicide is ever sprayed, these plants will likely persist for a very long time. This very first site is kept in check by an easement where no building is allowed. The grass also seems to be mowed frequently. I found a gigantic S. psittacina growing in the shade at this site, but it was a bit dangerous to explore due to the "quicksand" nature of the bog so we ended up not going in deeper. It appeared that these plants originated from a former a nearby field (which is now a non-native pine plantation, surprise-surprise!) and the only plants that survived from the original site were the ones that "leaked" out via creeks and rain. Dried up creeks and ditches were lined with S. psittacina at this site, and they all led to the pine plantation-that's where everything stopped. tire tracks in the mud create ideal habitat for the parrot pitcher plant, and check out the Drosera filiformis: I think this may have been the giant plant, although it's hard to tell because there's no scale. I can only guess this is the giant plant because the photo was taken in the shade, and this site is mostly full sun: I love how round the heads are on these particular plants: We even found a S. x wrigleyana here, and some Utricularia in bloom: Most of the plants here were regular sized, and they formed perfect little rosettes: They were quite abundant: All photos below are from the second site, which has a very similar origin: this is at the edge of a pine plantation! The field was likely a Sarracenia savanna filled with amazing plants and then it was plowed and transformed into a non-native pine plantation. Only plants that survived were the ones that either spilled out of the field and lined this drainage ditch: On the sides of the ditch were some beautiful specimens: Notice how these plants look different than the plants at the first site: the heads aren't as round: Some nice colors here too: However, there were some round-headed S. psittacinas here too! What's weird is I've seen this same phenomenon in Okaloosa Co, FL where there are "regular" parrot pitcher plants and round headed varieties in the same field. What's also very note-worthy in this photo is check out the substrate: the plants are growing in this grit/sand mixture on the edge of a ditch filled with peat and muck: And last but not least, a S. psittacina flowering at the end of August! Heat stress is linked to anomalous flowering, and I've seen every species within the genus do this. Flower primordia is formed during the summertime, but plant hormones keep them from bolting out during the fall. Extreme heat "neutralizes" the inhibiting hormones:
  4. All of the sites I've seen in Covington Co, AL are seepage slope bogs: water from uphill slowly percolates into an open field, and the area that stays consistently saturated is filled with Sarracenia. After visiting countless sites, one major observation was made: S. flava var. rugelii seems to be more tolerant of water-logged habitat in comparison to S. leucophylla. Perhaps the yellow trumpet pitcher plant has a different root system by which it can tolerate slightly lower levels of oxygen, but who knows. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule: anytime you have moving water, even if it's really mucky and boggy, S. lecuophylla can grow there. With all that in mind,the first photo below is an overview of a population of mainly S. flava var. rugelii. In the foreground, there's a dried up creek filled with tulip trees...it's too bad we didn't get to see them in bloom because those flowers are amazing! In the background, you can see a dense population of yellow trumpet pitcher plants. There's 2-3 main seeps that feed this bog: And as you can see, this site is dominated by S. flava var. rugelii: Homies in situ. I suppose on the other side of the pond, one would call them "mates" in situ: And here you can see how the plants grow from the water source. What you can't really tell from the photo is that almost every plant here is gigantic: Some huge lids: Same trap with my hand to sort-of show scale. My hand isn't as fat as it used to be, haha: This spot is really beautiful, although it was hard to find because it occurs in the middle of a forest that doesn't seem like it would be conducive of this habitat: A few beauties, although they were past their prime: S. leucophylla was also at this site, although they hadn't yet produced fall pitchers: And a S. x moorei just popped open: This one had an alien eye: WE found the very rare S. flava var. maxima here, and I'll post pics shortly once they're uploaded.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. Several populations of "red flavas" exist in northwestern Florida: Liberty Co, Bay Co, Walton Co, Okaloosa Co, and Santa Rosa Co, FL (they probably are found in other counties as well). Flavas with red bodies and green lids are considered S. flava var. rubricorpora, whereas flavas with solid red bodies are considered S. flava var. atropurpurea. In Liberty Co and Bay Co, there are large populations of S. flava var. rubricorpora, but arguably, some consider individuals in these populations S. flava var. atropurpurea because at the time they were seen, the plant was solid red. Trouble is, in cultivation, amongst many different growers, it has been shown that many plants labeled "atropurpurea" start off with a green lid, and as the pitcher ages, the entire trap turns solid red. Are these rubricorporas, or are these atropurpureas? Interestingly enough, in Okaloosa Co, FL and Santa Rosa Co, FL, there are both plants that resemble S. flava var. rubricorpora and S. flava var. atropurpurea. The S. flava var. atropurpureas from these sites start off solid red. However, plants from these sites strongly resemble the rare S. flava var. atropurpurea found in the Carolinas. Do these "atropurpureas" from Okaloosa Co and Santa Rosa Co, FL occur naturally, or did someone plant them at these sites? In Santa Rosa Co, FL, Damon, Axel and I visited 2 different sites that were roughly 20 miles away from each other (ie.not within a reasonable distance to hybridize with each other) and we found red plants at both of these sites! Here's site #1 in santa Rosa Co, FL. This is an old pitcher from the summer, and the lid is still green, while the body is solid red. Arguably, this can be considered S. flava var. rubricorpora (although, genetically, I think this is plant is very different from the bay co and liberty co plants): Another shot: Close up of the lid: Same site, baby "S. flava var. rubricorpora" plant: Now, let's go 20 miles away to site #2, and here we have what appears to be S. flava var. atorpurpurea. Was the lid on this plant green before it turned solid red? I don't know, but my gut says no: Same plant, back view: This one seems to be back-crossed with S. flava var. rugelii: And at this same site, we found S. x catesbaei: notice the strong resemblance in color. Hmmmmmm: A group of S. flava var. "atropurpureas" with S. flava var. rugeliis: Now, let's take a tour of the famous site in Okaloosa Co, FL, where there's a very large S. flava var. atropurpurea population. Notice I'm using the word "atropurpurea" here with confidence: These plants have been verified to produce solid red lids on brand new pitchers. Here's a distant view of the largest population of S. flava var. atropurpureas in this area: Breath-taking beauty!
  8. The original site where S. leucophylla hurricane creek white used to exist in the wild was plowed and turned into a pine tree plantation. While I never saw the original site before it was destroyed, I had heard it was a huge field filled with plants! The original site had many normal S. leucophyllas, but a few plants displayed the blinding white traps that we are fortunate enough to have preserved in cultivation prior to the site being destroyed. A lot of people probably are wondering, what does this site look like today, and is there anything left? Surprisingly, there is still a tiny little patch remaining to this day, but it is slowly being overgrown by the surrounding shrubs. Are there any super-white plants left? Sort of, but nothing like what we have in cultivation. 2 years ago when we first spotted this relic patch, there was a little opening in the shrubs (which were much shorter at the time) and you could walk in there and see quite a few plants. This little clearing had a decent amount of sunlight. As of 2013 (2 years later), that open patch is now filled with thick shrubs, and there's no way you can even attempt to walk in there! All of the plants that were once receiving decent light are now etiolated and shaded. Many only produced phyllodia. Will this patch survive in the long run? IF a fire comes through, or someone clears up the shrubs consistently, this relic site can potentially last a long time. However, the landowners clearly aren't interested in preserving these plants, and as is, the site will likely persist for a few more years at best. In the case of the S. rubra wherryi Chatom giant site, in 2004 (?), the population was in the same situation: they were heavily shaded by thick shrubs and struggling to survive. As of 2013, we didn't find a single Sarracenia in the original Chatom giant site. There were also gigantic S. psittacinas that used to grow there..these were also all gone. While I remain optimistic that the little hurricane creek patch may persist for a few more years, I remain skeptical that it will last through time. Photos of what remains of the original hurricane creek white site. This will likely be one of the last documented set of photos of the site before it disappears forever. It's damn hard to find, I'll tell you that much! Keep in mind, this used to be a field, but is now thick shrubs that eventually turn into a non-native forest (pine plantation) behind them: You used to be able to walk in here: Still, we did find an impressive hurricane creek white plant here and there: Most of them, however, looked like regular leucos, or relative white regular plants: They may be starving for light, but they sure aren't starving for insects! In two years, this will likely turn into thick brush: Actually, some beautiful and interesting plants are still alive: you can tell this is a relative of hurricane creek white: Decent hurricane creek white plant: The dark green and contrasting white is what makes hurricane creek white so unique. Most other populations don't have that characteristic:
  9. 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:
  10. It was our last day on the trip, and everyone was completely tired of being dragged out into the fields to look at Sarracenias in the blazing sun and 100% humidity. After all, how many days in a row can you sweat from head to toe and not feel it take a toll on your body? In retrospect, we chose one of the best and worst times to visit the South: Best because the leucos/alatas were in their prime, and worst because it was hurricane season (took a gamble on that one, I hear a pretty bad storm is suppose to hit in the next day or two) and the heat/humidity was beyond hostile. You can definitely die in that weather without proper precautions! Anyhow, it's late afternoon, and we just checked into the hotel. Who wants to go hunting for Sarracenias? I got two long faces with the expression, "are you Effin kidding me?" Politely, Damon and Axel said they're going for a swim and hanging out at the hotel, so I told them I was going to be back in an hour. I think they also thought there wasn't much of a chance that we'd find plants...not after driving in the forest for 3 hours or so and finding two dinky little plants barely worth mentioning. What are the chances we'd find one here "in the city?" Turns out, chances were very high! Within a 4 minute drive, I found S. alatas, and they were absolutely stunning! Not some boring, green only alatas that are a dime a dozen, but a bunch of color forms, and even a veinless one! Enough story telling, on with the show! Photos were taken 9/13/13 in Harrison Co, MS: The veinless plant. AFter speaking with a fellow CP expert, this may be a significant find, as I hear there has only been one other location where a veinless alata was found: Hats off to this clone: Another shot: One last shot of this beautiful plant: Slightly fuzzy picture, but check out that color! some interesting orange/coppery colored plants too: Some habitat shots: nice red plants: diversity was really high at this site: