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Andreas Fleischmann

CPs in northern Thailand

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Sawasdee!

In September/October 2005 I joined a botanical student’s expedition to Thailand. Beside having the opportunity to illustrate tropical ecosystems “live” to the students, I was able to find some interesting carnivorous plants (mainly Utricularia! ;)) with my Thai botanist friends, some of them even recorded for Thailand for the first time.

We started in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, where we made several excursions to the two large granitic mountain massifs: Doi Inthanon (= Doi Angka) and Doi Suthep. Both areas are rich in endemic plants, and protected well, as they are nature reserves.

DoiInt01.jpg

The habitat did look quite familiar to me and reminded me somewhat of European Alpine meadows, with scattered open pine forest. But not like anything I would have expected when I started to climb that mountain from the base in warm, evergreen tropical rainforest!

DoiInt02.jpg

These Thai pine trees are very similar to the ones I’m familiar to from back home, apart from the fact that you usually won’t be able to find epiphytic orchids on the European ones ;).

DoiInt03.jpg

The tops of the Doi Inthanon massif are quite often befogged in dense mist. That’s when the strangely shaped pine trees start to look like the scenery of a Bob Ross painting ;).

Dpeltata_01.jpg

Drosera peltata. The lilac-flowered plant growing at its base is a Burmannia larseniana.

Dpeltata_02.jpg

In some spots D. peltata grew among tall grasses and sedges in wet seepage areas over the granitic outcrops. A “Drosera-meadow”! ;)

Dpeltata_03.jpg

Drosera peltata getting attacked by the green hemi-parasitic plant Pedicularis.

Dpeltata_04.jpg

D. peltata in the mist.

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As this part of the Doi Inthanon massif has not been explored by botanists until recently, most of the plants we encountered there had either been new species, or at least newly recorded for Thailand!

In 2005, U. babui, a new Utricularia species related to U. graminifolia, was described from the Western Ghats of India. Most surprisingly, we found that strikingly ink-blue flowered species on Doi Inthanon as well!

U_babui_01.jpg

Ubabui04.jpg

U. babui was usually growing in carpets of grassy vegetation on a thin layer of peaty substrate over the bare slippery wet rocks.

Ubabui03.jpg

U. babui growing with a pipewort species, Eriocaulon sp.

DoiInt_view.jpg

View from the site where U. babui grows. U. babui grows on the margins of the grass cover over the wet granitic rocks, as you can see in the left lower corner of this photograph.

Ubabui_habit01.jpg

And down it goes....! Can you already spot out some blue flowers? ;)

Ubabui_habit02.jpg

Maybe a closer look...?

U_babui_02.jpg

U. babui was growing sympatrically with the yellow-flowered U. jackii (another recently described species, published in 2005 from neighbouring Doi Suthep).

Ujackii_01.jpg

Burm_larseniana.jpg

In 1999, this new species of Burmannia, B. larseniana, was described from Doi Inthanon. Burmanniaceae often accompany carnivorous plants in nutrient-poor acidic soils. Whereas CPs get their extra nutrient supply from capturing and digesting animal prey, some other plants (like Burmanniaceae, orchids, gentians, milkweeds) get extra nitrogen and phosphorous by digesting fungus hyphae. You may call them “fungivorous plants” or “FPs”, haha ;). Botanists call them “mycotrophics” or even “mycoheterotrophics” (in case they lack chlorophyll, like some Burmannias or Neottia-orchids for example).

PedEvrardii.jpg

And this large-flowered species of Pedicularis (a lousewort, a green hemi-parasitic member of Orobanchaceae, the broomrape family) seems to be new to science, too! ;) It most closely resembles Pedicularis evrardii, however differs in several aspects. These plants have found another way to survive in nutrient poor habitats: by stealing nutrients from other plants (even CPs! ;)). You see: CP habitats are the territory of botanical cheaters, thieves and cannibals! ;).

Ubabui_habit03.jpg

Dpeltata_habit01.jpg

A “carnivorous island” of vegetation on the granitic rock. You can spot out Drosera peltata, Utricularia babui (blue flowers in the foreground), U. jackii (yellow spots in the background) and the reddish scapes and capsules of U. striatula. Accompanying plants are the grass-lily Xyris lobbii (strap-shaped leaves), Eriocaulon sp. (the small yellowish-green rosettes in front) and Rhynchospora spp. (grass-like leaves) and Pedicularis.

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DoiInt_05.jpg

While the rest of the excursion team was having lunch and enjoying the beautiful scenery, I was climbing on the rocks searching for some more obscure plants ;).

Ucfgarretii_habit02.jpg

On a steep north-facing dripping wall on the granitic cliff, I encountered a strange Utricularia species, which I could not assign to a certain species yet. Of course it belongs to section Phyllaria, i.e. to the U.striatula-group. The site this plant grew at was close to the type location of U. garrettii, however its flowers are different.

U_cf_garrettii_01.jpg

U_cf_garrettii_02.jpg

This plant grows attached to the bare rock by thick red stolons which bear a lot of rather large traps. Unfortunately I was not able to introduce this plant into cultivation. Most members of this group of (rheo)lithophyte Utrics seem to be almost impossible to grow!

Ucfgarretii_habit01.jpg

The steep habitat of U. cf. garrettii on Doi Inthanon, which was indeed hard to access!

At lower elevation sites of both Doi Inthanon and Doi Suthep, in the cloud forest, Utricularia furcellata was quite common on tree trunks and wet moss-covered rocks. This species has not been recorded for Thailand yet either. However I discovered that many U. striatula collected in northern Thailand are in fact specimens of U. furcellata. Both species are easy to tell apart from each other: In U. striatula, the lower lib is 5-lobed, whereas U. furcellata has only 4 lobes. Moreover, the flower colour of U. furcellata usually is a pale lilac, whereas U. striatula is almost pure white.

U_furcellata_02.jpg

U_furcellata_01.jpg

U. furcellata was exclusively growing in wet moss on north facing slopes, rocks and tree bark.

And here’s some photos of U. striatula for comparision (well they are actually not from Thailand, but from Sierra Leone. But all of my Thai striatula photographs came out blurred).

Ustriatula_SL_01.jpg

Ustriatula_SL_02.jpg

Ustriatula_SL_03.jpg

Part 2 (the tropical southern Thailand of Trang Peninsular) will follow soon....

All the best,

Andreas

(As you may note, I’m trying to get rid of some old photo loads ... ;))

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OMG!!!!!!

Very impressive habitat...and incredible shots!!!

U. cf garrettii and U.babui are beautiful!!

Thank you for sharing...

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Excellent Andreas!! Many thanks for sharing this, looks like it was a great trip :wink:

I love the bright blue U. babui flower - very beautiful, and the U. garrettii has a lovely shaped flower :pleasantry:

Heather

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And to think I play with chemicals all day! Wanna trade lives?

I love the colour contrast between U. babui and the yellow-flowered U. jackii.

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Hi Andreas,

in fact very nice pictures. :wink:

The locations are really very beautiful with this mist, a little bit mystical.

For sure it has been a great trip. :pleasantry:

Most of them, except U. babui, i have not seen in any collections till now.

Thanks for sharing these pictures.

Best regards,

Dani

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Hello Andreas! ;-)

What a fantastic field report! I enjoyed both the pictures and the explanations.

You really know how to make things interesting. It could almost give me the incentive to grow more bladderworts :pleasantry: .

Did you have the chance to stumble onto some Nepenthes on both Doi Inthanon and Doi Suthep? I had visited those two hills almost ten years ago, but I was only interested by the entomofauna (especially Odonata) at the moment...

François.

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Hi Andreas,

very nice - though you've already shown us before :wink: but always great to see those Phyllaria pics :pleasantry:

Regards

Martin

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Hello,

Thanks for the nice comments!

Jim,

And to think I play with chemicals all day! Wanna trade lives?

Haha ;) But to be honest: this was the only excursion by my university so far! All other botanical trips I made (and which I'm going to report here ;)) are my personal holliday travels. Usually I'll have to work in the lab and play with chemicals all day, too! ;) Thus these plant hunting trips are my compensation for the daily intoxication with acrylamide and ethidium-bromide, haha ;).

François,

Did you have the chance to stumble onto some Nepenthes on both Doi Inthanon and Doi Suthep? I had visited those two hills almost ten years ago, but I was only interested by the entomofauna (especially Odonata) at the moment...

Not in Chiang Mai Province, but in Trang. And that's where I encountered lots of interesting insects (including some dragonflies ;)) and reptiles. I will show photos of the 2nd part later on.

All the best,

Andreas

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Andreas,

Absolutely stunning! WOW! (although I think you guys are nuts to walk around on such slippery wet terrain on such a steep mountain side slope, without being tethered to some lifeline rope anchored to a tree, or something!)

Still, well done, just glad you made it back alive! :heart:

- Rich

Edited by rsivertsen

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Wow Andreas, quite interesting place and pictures. I like so much the U. cf. garretii, thanks for sharing.

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Hi Andreas,

I can only second to Martin: Having seen at least some of the pictures before, it is great to see them again. The plants and the scenery are just stunning!

Keep them coming!

Dieter

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Not in Chiang Mai Province, but in Trang. And that's where I encountered lots of interesting insects (including some dragonflies ;)) and reptiles. I will show photos of the 2nd part later on.

All the best,

Andreas

Dear Andreas,

I hope you will fond the time to post those pics!

I just reviewed this post again. Fantastic. It could convince me to grow Utricularia!

François.

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Yeh, ... 'Watch' The Ethidium-bromide ... "Thart's"-R-Nasty-one. >(*U^)<

****

The-'Recent': "WILD-China" DVD [2008] Had-an-Episode Mentioning R Semi-Alpine-Zone Within-its-Borders. Perhaps You Visit-THERE Next for Your Hunt for The Intreppid-Drosera & Utrics.!!!??? >(*U^)<

****

I-'Thought'-that Sean Would-have 'Pipped'-Me at The Post-Here ... but that Drosera-'peltata' Has "Smooth"-Calyxes and is Highly 'Branched', Perhaps-it-R-Case of too-Many Other Interesting Images and Not-Enough Time!!!???

****

Interesting-Information about The-Burmanniaceae!

What-does The Plant Give-to-The 'Fungus' in-Return!!!???

****

Those 'Garrettii'-Flowers Almost Look-like Pinguicula-primuliflora Flowers!!! >(*~*)<

****

Most 'True'-Rheoliths require a Biofilm to develop on The Rockface 'First' or Actually Grow in Accumulated Litter that Has Developed on-Top of This Biofilm Preparational / Transitional Stage that The Rockface-Surface undergoes. This-Implies that You Need to-Think about Growing-Them in-R-Substrate rather than Actually on Rocks Themselves.

PS: You 'Certainly' Seem to Risk Life-&-Limb to Get These Wonderful-Photographs. 'Hate'-to-Lose-You to an Inappropriate Fall off-of an Extremely-Tall-Mountain. Take-Care-of-Yourself ... You're-R-Resource, We-Here-at-CPUK, Couldn't Possibly Afford-to-Lose to R Minor Slip or Loss-in-Footing!!!

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Hello Richard,

Thanks for your interesting comments! I don't want to insult you, but the last few replies of yours did read surprisingly well. This makes answering back much easier to me ;).

The-'Recent': "WILD-China" DVD [2008] Had-an-Episode Mentioning R Semi-Alpine-Zone Within-its-Borders. Perhaps You Visit-THERE Next for Your Hunt for The Intreppid-Drosera & Utrics.!!!???

Some parts of China are definitely on my "travels whishlist", however it is very very hard to get travel and research permits for China! A lot of interesting species of Utricularia section Phyllaria (relatives of U. striatula, all epiphytes or lithophytes) are growing there ;).

[...] but that Drosera-'peltata' Has "Smooth"-Calyxes and is Highly 'Branched', Perhaps-it-R-Case of too-Many Other Interesting Images and Not-Enough Time!!!???

You are right of course, these Asian "D. peltata" match D. auriculata much more than D. pelata! These Asian plants with glabrous sepals that usually bear several leaves per node (looks like a whorl) have already been described as a distinct species, D. lunata. I still wait for a revision of the D. pelatat-auriculata-complex (Rob Gibson, where are you? ;)), which will hopefull help to re-classify some of the clearly distinct taxa in this group of tuberous Drosera.

Interesting-Information about The-Burmanniaceae!

What-does The Plant Give-to-The 'Fungus' in-Return!!!???

Nothing! Just death! ;) These myco(hetero)trophics are digesting the fungus hyphae, just like orchids do. However, in some orchids and gentian species (which are all mycotrophics, too), the fungus hyphae first colonise the "digestion chamber" root cells, where they start growing, coiling up and then get digested. Some scientist believe that the fungus gets some kind of home in the outer parts of the root tissue, whereas its hyphae are getting continuously digested in the inner parts of the root. Not a very happy life, I would not dare calling this a symbiosis! The plant is parasitic on the fungus.

Most 'True'-Rheoliths require a Biofilm to develop on The Rockface 'First' or Actually Grow in Accumulated Litter that Has Developed on-Top of This Biofilm Preparational / Transitional Stage that The Rockface-Surface undergoes. This-Implies that You Need to-Think about Growing-Them in-R-Substrate rather than Actually on Rocks Themselves.

You are right, but it is hard to find "plain blank" rocks in the wild anyway. Any rock or stone exposed to sun and weather will be colonized by a biofilm of bacteria, algae and protozoa within short time anyway. And that's where plants usually live on.

The problem in trying to grow most of these lithophytic species is not to immitate to rock surface they live on (for sure they will thrive well in peat soil, too. Remember that one of the easiest growers, U. sandersonii, is a rare lithophyte in the wild, too!), but the cool, permanently seeping water flow.

PS: You 'Certainly' Seem to Risk Life-&-Limb to Get These Wonderful-Photographs. 'Hate'-to-Lose-You to an Inappropriate Fall off-of an Extremely-Tall-Mountain. Take-Care-of-Yourself ... You're-R-Resource, We-Here-at-CPUK, Couldn't Possibly Afford-to-Lose to R Minor Slip or Loss-in-Footing!!!

Thanks for the compliments! ;)

All the best,

Andreas

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It sure would be spectacular if you did one of your field reports of China. I'd love to see some more pics of the lithophytic utrics!

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Hi Andreas,

it's a really nice place, I liked this 'impossible' U. garrettii, these colours are fantastic.

Thanks for sharing.

Carlos.

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I'm an Idiot-Savant ... so-I-Have Trouble with Things that-You Take-for-Granted and Do, Achieve-or-Accomplish Everyday ... Whereas, on-TheOther-Hand, I-See-Things that-Others Simply Pass-by, Overlook or Tend to 'Just'-Accept or Accept-to-Ignore, &-as-Such can Achieve-Things You-&-Others May Never-Accomplish in-R-Single-Lifetime >(*~*)< / >(*U^)<

I-Accept-the-'Balance' ... though I-Would-like to-Teach You to Become R-Little-more 'Like' Me and Try-to-Learn How to Become 'More'-like-You!!!??? [& Open-up The-Doors]

I-"Still' Admire The-Language-skills of Helen-Keller & "Think" that Alexander-Graham-Bell Said-it-Best When He chose to Simply-have as-His-Epitaph: [Gravestone-Statement or Quotation] " I-Taught-The-'Deaf'-to-Speak"!!! >(*~*)< / >(*U^)<

Perhaps, I'll Learn How, Just-How, to-Teach The Non-Mute to 'Listen'!!!??? >(*U^)<

****

I-Only-'Have' ONE-Contact-in-China ... but if Something 'Amazing' Happens This-Year [My-1905 >(*U^)<] I'll Do-My Best to Learn-The-Language in-Six-Months and Get-You an Open-Ended Travel-Visa ... Afteral China-has-The 'Man'-Power and Russia The-Knowledge - Soo, ... 'Why'-don't We Place-R-Women-on-Mars? My-Mind has Been 'Open'-to-This Possibility Since Childhood. We-'Should'-Have-been 'Bach'-to-The-Moon by-Now ... I-Think We've Been 'Dragging'-Our Feet-R-Bit!!! >(*~*)< Fewer-Wars / More Space-Travel, I-May-Suggest

****

I-don't 'Know' What's 'Happened' to Robert's-THESIS. I've-'Heard' it-Has Been Published but am-'Yet' to-"See"-R-Copy.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mijmark/

I-Would 'Suggest' from The Above Link that He's Just Getting-His Life-in-Order & Making-up for 'Lost'-Time!!!??? >(*U^)<

He 'Still' Has-R-Monograph on-The-Genus-Drosera on The Order-&-Calibre of Peter-Taylor's Tome-on- Utricularia to-Do, so-I 'Suggest' that-his Plate, so-to-Speak, ... is-Pretty-FULL Right-about-'Now'. >(*~*)< / >(*U^)<

I-'Expect' B-I-G-Things from-Him & Wish-Him, Well.

I-'Support' His Ideas about Drosera-regia-&-arcturi and Would Even 'Extend'-Them to Include Stenopetala & one-other Whose-name Has Momentarily Escaped-Me (Uniflora?) ['Poor', Short-Term Memory ... Attention-Span of-an-'Ant' >(*~*)< / >(*U^)<]

The 'Idea'-was for Robert to Write The-Monograph and for-I to 'Do'-The-Ecology Side-of-Things [COASTAL 'Gley'-Podzolic-Soils (Spodosols >(*~*)<) very "WARPED"-Soils Indeed] Who's Weird Properties Have Been 'Known'-of for about 200-Years, Staggeringly Beggar-Belief ... so-I-Totally Welcome that Acceptance-7-Vindication Possibly Won't come from From The-Scientific-Community in-this-Lifetime but The General-Public at-large May-just Catch-on-to The-Idea if-R Venus-Flytrap with Four-Inch Traps can be-Produce from All-This Hard-Fought / Hard-Won Knowledge and Makes-it-to The Front-Cover of International-Geographic ... but Just-Explaining How an-American-Icon Was Solved by an-Australian, I-Foresee, "IS" Goanna-Be R-'Toughie': - Winning the America's-Cup was Probably easier in-Comparison >(*~*)< / >(*U^)<

****

From My-Reading most Mycotrophic-Relations are Suppossed-to-Be 'Calmed'-down Ancient (Prehistoric) Previously Parasytic-Infections.

The-Plants Keep-Them Under-'Control' but-can Occassionally be Overrun-by-Them if-They 'Revert' to Their old Warring-Ways from Days-Gone-by. This-is 'True'-of-CPs and Plants Can Have Their-Roots Eaten-off in Less-than-R-Week [No-Roots, No-Mycorrhizae Interdigitation, No-Growth ... Basically DEATH sets-in Therafter]

'How'-Do-The-Burmanniaceae [Does-Anyone 'Know' ... Probably-Not] 'Control' Their-Situation Like The-Nazi's Controlling & Taking Advantage of The-Jews. Sorry 'Bad'-Reference ... but-I think You Get-My-Drift. >(*~*)<

Do-They 'Secrete' R Certain-Photosythate Biproduct from Their Roots [Root-Exudates ... about 23-Common-ones; Aspartic-Acid most-Common]? ie R-Bit Like Tomatoes-&-Potatoes, Leeks, Fennel Etc., Etc. that has an Obvious 'Scent' or Stench that-can be Quickly Ascertained or is Indictative of Infection with-R Particular-Type of Mycorrhizal-Association??? Again Probably as-Yet Unknown or Difficult at-Best to-Ascertain without Digging-up R-Rare-Plant in-r-country WHERE You 'Need-R-Permit and They Have-Guns and Easily Acquiesce to The-Suspension of Life-on-R-Whim or Trifle. >(*~*)< / >(*U^)< Mustard-Family-plants are usually Anti-Mycorrhizal Due-to-Their Exudates ... so-it Does Cut-BOTH-Ways, so-to-Speak!!! >(*U^)<

****

I'm 'Open' to-R Lychnorhizal-[Lichen]-Association ... something that Would be R-very-Tough-Association Indeed and with the Possibility or Potential of NITROGEN-Fixation!!!

****

I-Don't, Now, 'Have' U.-sandersonii - but I'll Use U. capensis Instead and 'See'-if I-Can't Solve You Rheolithophytic Problem without The Aid of Rocks ... but-rather by Concentrating on Growing The-Biofilm that Grows on The Rocks. We-have an Algal-Type Jelly-Mold that Grows here with Drosera-praefolia at Some Locations Which is very-Slippery and Dangerous When-Wet.

http://s282.photobucket.com/albums/kk241/R...dens-PRAEFOLIA/

Cherry-Gardens-Drosera-praefolia-He.jpg

IMG_3786JPG-35-RESIZED.jpg

http://s282.photobucket.com/albums/kk241/R...-35-RESIZED.jpg

I-'Slightly' Damaged-My-THEN-New-Camera-to-It, ... Getting You Some Pretty-Rare-Footage. I-'Think' There's More Exciting-stuff to-Be 'Had' This-Coming-season-though ... so-Stay-Tuned around The End-of-May.

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Stunning scenery, I have never seen blue ultric flowers and I have no idea why I overlooked this topic last year :sun_bespectacled: Thanks for sharing!

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