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Darlingtonia in a spaghnum bog, Sept. 2010

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I recently wrote an article for the Italian CP society, and it's scheduled to publish this month. It covers this bog that I'm describing below, which has been documented in the ICPS journal (I think). This post is for all of us who don't speak Italian (everything was translated into italian).

This is the only known site in Northern California where spaghnum grows with Darlingtonia in the wild. This site is very different from all other sites I've visited-it's in the middle of a forest high up in the mountains! It was discovered by Harry Trion et al. approximately 8 years ago. Unfortunately, in comparison to when the bog was first discovered, there are a lot less plants thriving. Our hypothesis is that naturally, the surrounding forest is becoming thicker over time, which is shading the plants. As more trees encroach the site, there is less light, which makes it harder for Darlingtonia and others to thrive. Instead, ferns and understory brush are creeping in, taking over the habitat. Perhaps forest fires are a natural cycle to redeem this area should it become overgrown.

Darlingtonia growing with spaghnum. There are also D. rotundifolia in this site:


habitat overview


the legendary Harry Trion in situ:


Damon Collinsworth-note how he's always in the good spots when I'm trying to take pictures!


Darlingtonia in the background competing with the ferns:


spaghnum sporulating. IT was really difficult finding spaghnum in this bog. Many years back, Damon and Harry said they saw a lot more at the site:


More plants growing in the ferns. The population here was pretty uniform, which suggest it may be a "younger" site in comparison to others which show more diversity:



a nice pair with shade-tolerant plants growing in the background. Not sure if the moth survived the visit:


Edited by meizwang

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fantastic, both sites and all pictures... it's quite refreshing to see such impressive carnivores in these fascinating habitats, left undisturbed, as it should be... Am i wrong or Darlingtonia habitats are not at risk?... a part from the Othello plants, I don't remember of anybody denouncing some site at risk...

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Hi Marcello,

There are many sites at risk at this time. Harry informed me there's a nickel mine in northern california that will wipe out a few sites. Poaching is a problem at some sites, but there are a lot of spots that are hard to reach and are seldom visited. Those plants way out in the middle of nowhere are relatively safe.

In general, the main natural environmental condition that strain the plants are drought and other native plants competing for light. Very few sites are at risk of being over-shaded like the spaghnum site, but it does happen. However, Darlingtonia are successful at spreading seeds and colonizing new territories. Floods and animals are good at distributing them to new sites.

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