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Hello everyone!

I don't know if any of you remember me but I started posting on this and similar websites (e.g. terraforums) at the young age of 12, almost 10 years ago!

I'm now 20 years old and studying Plant Science at the University of Manchester.

Still having a keen interest in carnivorous plants, I have fortunately managed to convince my supervisor to allow me to study nutrient uptake in Dionaea muscipula for my final year dissertation. To put it simply, I want to find out exactly why they experience stress and die in high nutrient soils - what is it that makes them sensitive?

My theory is that it's down to either having highly efficient nutrient uptake channels in the roots, which would have evolved to make the most of what little nutrient is available in peat soil. As we all know, VFTs can still be grown (albeit more slowly) without being fed - they therefore must be getting nutrient from the soil, the traps only supplementing their diet.

I also think perhaps they have lost the mechanism by which to stop nutrient uptake in their roots when it reaches high levels. Due to this, the plant cannot control uptake of nutrients and so nutrient content quickly reaches toxic levels, stressing and killing the plant.

My first idea is that I will test different levels of nutrients (such as potassium, zinc, etc) in the growing medium and find out if there is a particular mineral that VFTs are sensitive to.

Although this is more scientific than horticultural I thought some of you may be interested in helping me out with this. I have only just begun to plan my experiment but wanted to hear any feedback of your own experiences with VFTs relating to this, and any opinions or suggestions you may have. For example, what in your opinion are the main signs of stress due to high nutrient in the medium? How long would it typically take a plant to die? Has anyone every tried fertilising VFTs? Etc etc.. all feedback welcome! I may also start a poll to help collaborate data from everyone's experiences (if that's okay with you mods?).

I'd also like to know whether anyone can advise on where I can purchase wholesale VFTs cheaply - preferably propagated so they are all clones and of known, same age? If any of you run a commercial website I would be so appreciative if you could send me a message to let me know who your supplier is - I need to keep costs down as I have a very limited budget as an undergrad and so need to remove the middle man so to speak. It's purely for scientific research so there's no risk of commercial competition or what not!

I look forward to hearing from everyone!



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Hi Danny

Sounds like an interesting investigation.

Your first stop should be your university library and find out what is already known. No point in reinventing the wheel.

Shamefully I havent done any reading on this subject so cant help.

I have never actually seen any proper scientific studies that normal feeding will kill VFTs its just something that has been taken for granted. I have heard that nurseries growing VFTs commercially do fertilize them to increase growth rate, but not sure of their technique.

Keep us updated of your findings.

One thing that occured to me is that you may not have time to notice any changes due to modifying mineral levels as it could be years to show a noticable change in the plants health.

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That's very interesting Danny!

As for mantrid, I never tested the lethality of fixed nitrogen to VFTs on my plants, but as an amateur, I think that it should be regarded at least as a consequence of some growth stage or conditions, and not as a rigid feature of the plant throughout its life. After all, we all know that VFTs can be germinated and propagated in 1/3 strength Murashige & Skoog medium, and that's no peat moss and distilled water. They're also very happy in it and grow astoundingly fast. Maybe they get nitrogen-intolerant when they get older, just like us with lactose ;)

Now, it would be amazing to discover the environmental or genetic switch that makes the plant dependant on the rigid carnivore diet. So, really best luck!!!


Edited by Roberto
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