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Found 7 results

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that one of the best S. flava var. rubricorpora populations in the world still exists today in Bay County, FL. Apparently, it does take a genius to explain to the State of Florida that destroying this remaining habitat and not having regulations to protect the remaining sites is beyond ridiculous, seeing how they've already demolished literally everything they possibly could. Bay County encompasses 1,033 sq miles (2,675 kmĀ²), and out of all of that land, maybe 10-20 acres of pristine habitat is left. Most of the remaining sites are relic patches of once vast fields of dreams. One can only imagine how many endless acres of fields filled with red flavas once existed. Everything that is left in the wild in Bay County is surrounded by altered terrain or is altered terrain. I visited a site in 2011 that was reported to have huge fields of Sarracenias and natural ponds containing giant floating S. psittacinas! Can you guess what this site looks like today? It looks like what 90% of Bay County looks like: endless rows of non-native pines grown for pulp production! No ponds, no savannas, no rare native plants, no sunshine, just thick, dark forests of planted trees as far as the eye can see. Unlike us CP enthusiasts, the majority of the general public sees nothing wrong with this: after all, they've "reforested America"! To add insult to injury, one of the last remaining sites is literally on it's last legs: the parcel right next to the red flava site, which is slightly uphill and is the water source for the delicate savanna, was recently harvested and cleared but fortunately, much of the soil was left undisturbed. Will they come in with tractors and till the soil to plant more trees? Will they dig ditches and destroy the water table? Keep in mind, many of these springs are extremely shallow. Even without laying a finger on the savanna, this site can be destroyed by altering the neighboring land. Well, the rest of the story has yet to be written, but there is hope that fields like these will keep going past our time. After all, this site still does exist as of 2014, and it's THRIVING! I'm grateful we live in a time when there's still pitcher plants in the wild, and it's a pleasure to share this with you all. Try to imagine the most amazing, giant, diverse red tubed plants you've ever seen, and that's what's here, in relatively large numbers. Also try to imagine 99F (37C) weather that felt like 110F (43C) and mosquitoes and other insects constantly biting you while you're drenched in sweat. Oh, and when you step on a little spot of dry land in the bog, it's infested with ants that bite with a painful sting (yes, I got bit!): When we visited, the field was very mucky and wet, so walking around was quite difficult. The insects trying to eat you alive wasn't any help either. Let me also mention that most other sites we visited in Florida this time of the year were bone dry and had a lot less biting insects! Every step, your foot goes down 2-3 ft (almost a meter deep). I ended up walking barefoot: I couldn't figure out if this site is being burned, but it didn't seem so. While the grasses were pretty thick in some areas, the field was so boggy and wet that not much else was colonizing the field. Anywhere else, this would be a thick forest within 2-3 years, things grow very fast in Florida: Each individual plant produced one or two pitchers, and not too many plants seemed to form clumps despite being well spaced and in full sun: Most of the plants here were red tubes, but some were extreme red throats. I didn't see any plants that resembled "pure" S. flava var. rugelii: Some more habitat shots: And now for some closer shots. Look at the character on these traps! Some of the lids stay yellow-green even after they age: Like this one too, and check out how big the lid is: Bright red body: Standard looking giant trap, hard to tell from the photo just how big these are: Some outstanding individuals: It's hard to capture the real color of these traps, but this picture is spot on. The light just happened to be perfect: One last look at the field as we exited. Wish I snapped more photos, but we were tired, hungry, bitten, dehydrated, and overheated, so it was time to go: After a long day of bogging, to relieve our bug bites and relax our bones, we went for a dip in the pool with some odd rules(item#7): Well, that's it for the story of the red tube site, hope you enjoyed it!
  5. 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!
  6. 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!
  7. 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: