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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:

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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:

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Another shot of the same spot:

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One more shot:

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The leucophyllas here were pretty white:

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Fresh pitcher opening up:

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some more bright white plants:

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As you can see, they're very healthy:

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Standard looking leuco:

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Beautiful plants-these are growing in the "creek" a bit downhill from the previous photos:

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Another shot:

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Kinda alba-ish:

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very shapely:

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pretty white:

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This clump was very white, but difficult to photograph because the vines from hell with razor sharp spikes were tearing up my legs. It was really thick in here. The full sun and all the glare was also a challenge:

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These almost looked like hurricane creeks:

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A few red ones were here at as well:

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We didn't go too far because it was hot, everyone was tired, and we were ready to leave and find a hotel. It was getting pretty thick at this point:

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Same clump:

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Okay, I have to admit, I had it in me to go further, but Damon and Axel were talking amongst themselves, probably trying to figure out how to confront me and convince me to go back, hehe:

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I mean come on, we were finding plants like this! It wasn't time to go back yet:

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another shot:

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On our way back to the car......I couldn't let my homies suffer through that heat:

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Goodbye Bog-it was definitely a fun visit!

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I ordered a medium margarita that night at a mexican restaurant, and this is what they served me! Maybe I'm a bit smaller than the average southerner...not sure, but this concludes the report-Cheers!

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Mike thank you for sharing with us these beautiful plants and photos, you don't let me sleep at night, only dreams....only dreams.....only dreams :good2:

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haha, you're welcome Frangelo! I also have dreams about looking for plants in the wild...reoccuring dreams! :)

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I ordered a medium margarita that night at a mexican restaurant, and this is what they served me!

Reminds of that Churrascaria in Brasil where we ordered two Caipirinhas, and the waitress came with that huge thermos jug :-D

Once again a great leuco report Mike! Thanks for these interesting habitat infos, esp. the water situation. Have to think about that.

That species begins to haunt me. Very beautiful white plants. Though a bit red in there isn't that bad either ;-)

Thanks and regards

Martin

Edited by Martin Hingst

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Martin-you're very welcome! Indeed, the diversity in habitats out there really surprised me, but upon deep contemplation, it all makes sense. Water is the limiting factor in such habitats, and when there are droughts year after year, only plants in the wettest areas will survive. The surrounding savanna isn't constantly fed by a spring, so plants in these areas during droughts tend to perish.

In the habitats where you see thousands of plants in flat, gigantic fields, there tends to be ground water slowly seeping underneath the entire field. Even if the surface of the soil looks dry, immediately underneath, there is ground water. During drought years, there is less ground water, but still enough moisture to keep the plants alive.

Interestingly, what I learned from growing S. leucophylla is that keeping the pots almost submerged in water doesn't indicate this is the best way to manage plants in cultivation. Water behaves differently in containers and pots, and if you were to submerge your potted plant in deep water permanently, the roots will rot. In nature, the water is constantly flowing (meaning, there's more oxygen in the water), and there is a lot more soil in the ground, which creates different physical properties and allows the plants to grow submerged.

Neil-glad you're enjoying the reports!

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Water behaves differently in containers and pots, and if you were to submerge your potted plant in deep water permanently, the roots will rot. In nature, the water is constantly flowing (meaning, there's more oxygen in the water), and there is a lot more soil in the ground, which creates different physical properties and allows the plants to grow submerged

I have made the same observations in habitat and cultivation, Mike. There are many plants that seem to rely on seeping water, Darlingtonia you had mentioned already, same was true for Cephalotus and Heliamphora in those habitats I visited. Both are to be said as very sensitive towards standing water in cultivation, and both grow in extremely wet to even submerged conditions in habitat - but only where water is at least slowly moving. Same for some others, like the tuberous Utricularia menziesii, or tuberous Drosera.

But what is the explanation? It cannot only be the availability of water. You mentioned oxygen, I too think that is at least part of the story. And temperatue? While the emerged parts of all these plants can stand hot temperatures (or even need it as Stephen said), the roots have to be kept cool, according to common literature. True - and does that really play a major role? What is about redox potential, and its relation to the availability of iron (or other heavy metals), esp. in acidic media? I remember reading an article of a botanist who studied water plants in Thailand , noticing the concentration of dissolved Fe(II) is high near the well of small streams, as is the plant density, while in the ponds where most of the Fe has been oxidised to Fe(III) or precipitated, many of the studied species were absent. That would speak against the oxygen theory.

So, quite complex just from the chemical point of view. And then there are of course the phisical properties you mentioned - any further thoughts about that?

Edited by Martin Hingst

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Martin-first off, thanks for sharing your observations of other sensitive CP's in the wild! It's very fascinating to hear about their similarities!

Temperaturewise, I walked into one of the bogs bare-foot, and I can tell you this much-the mucky, liquidy soil was very warm, even when 1/3 a meter deep! Sarracenias are definitely more tolerant of warm temperatures, and this definitely plays a role in how much oxygen the water can absorb. Just as you are alluding to, I think the ability to live submerged in water in the wild is based on an accumulation of factors.

Since the pH is around 4 at these sites, I don't think there is much redox. reactions occurring. The high concentration of hydronium ions seem to be keeping the rest of the elements from being active. If by "dissolved" you mean the iron cations are "locked" with some other anion and not ionized, it would make sense that even if you have high iron, it's not available to the plants. But if there is a higher concentration of ionized iron, that would be very strange, and something to look into.

Another huge factor is that in the wild, the majority of the medium is inorganic (ie. sand), whereas in cultivation, the majority of the medium is organic (ie. peat or sphagnum).

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Thanks again Mike - very interesting to hear about the higher temperature in the soil! So that seems to be a great difference to e.g. the Darlingtonia locations, and therefore no essential factor for the characterization of such seeping habitats.

What do you think could be the most essential common factor?

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Back to the darlingtonias: At one site, water temperatures in the wild were measured to be 29C (approx. 86F)! Also, the water was very high in salts-around 130ppm TDS! The substrate at this site are medium chunks of rock mixed in with dead grass and organic material-almost seemed like large grade gravel.. The warm water was constantly running over the roots, although if you lifted some of the rocks, you could see the roots didn't look very healthy (ie. they were blackish, but not necessarily dead, but some of the root tips were definitely dead). Again, this defies everything I know about darlingtonias: in cultivation, if the soil temperature goes to 29C or above, you get root damage, and then rot kicks in.

I suppose the question is, why can these plants grow practically submerged in the wild, yet in cultivation, do the same thing, and they'll rot? Maybe a good experiment is to create an artificial creek with water constantly flowing. Submerge a regular potted Sarracenia in there and see what happens. It seems the common factor of all these sites is that the water is in motion some way or another: whether it's from rain beating down on the ground, water seeping out of a spring, or water flowing underneath the ground in a spring.

Edited by meizwang

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I have been to Santa Rosa County last April. And I have seen plenty S. leucophylla, S. flava and S. psittacina. What I have noticed is that all 3 species can be found in almost pure flat pine savannas but also in more hilly areas with seepage bogs. Just South of interstate 10 you can see them in flat savans on moist to wet soil and also in shallow water. And along roadditches. And North of that interstate 10 it gets a bit more hilly. But its very well possible that you get a groundwater stream from north of that interstate 10 going south, especially when you get sandy soil. And then on a bit lower points in those pinesavannas it creates those wetter seepage areas where you will find good populations of Sarracenias and other things like several Drosera, Pinguicula and Utricularia. I did notice that that area got a good burn regurlarly with plenty healthy whire grass and they did some rersearch there on Sarracenias as they where marked. So it was a very happy day to see them thriving there under a blue sky! Well hopefully those Sarracenias will stay there forever on the ''Costa Sarracenia''.

Alexander

W

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Very interesting to read about the higher temperatures in the Darlingtonia water. So cooling by the seeping water seems to be not so important as often stated!

I got the feeling that it is not only the movement of water. There has to be something with "fresh", "new" water, whether from rain or from ground water, that makes these seepage habitats so special. As with ground water, I still think the anaerobic contitions / redox potential may have something to do with it. Still not convinced by the need of oxygen in the root area, esp. thinking of our bogs here and their reductive soil (e.g. the smell of low-valent sulfur compounds ;-) So maybe an artificial creek that would just move the old water around, could lead to different results?

Anyway, a great site. I really have to visit these leuco locations some day!

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Mike, fantastic site.

I have enjoyed every single report you made recently. What a treat!

Fran├žois.

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WellDarlingtonia habitats are usely in a mountain areas in a part of the US where summertemperatures are allready much lower then in Florida. Along that gulfcoast of Northern Florida is mostely hot and humid weather from May till early October. So arround 30 C as a maximum and 20 C as a minimum temperature. What I have noticed in those pine savannas is that they are not really flat but with some variation of drier higher parts and lower depressions and little streams. And where you get those seepages you often get those Sarracenias, but not only at places with seepage. I think that the main reason is the permanent moisture of the soil. So they never dry out completely during a longer dry period. Those dry periods sometimes occur during summer. In the Okefenokee wetland area Sarracenia minor grows on flooting peats what comes from the bottom. It gets dtetacched from the bottom due to methane gass and then gets collonised by all kinds of plants. And its all standing water there, no seepage whatsoever. Also along roadditches Sarracenia flava can be seen. Again its the permanent moisture I guess. And Sarracenia make quid long roots so it can find water deeper in the soil during a drier period.

And in cultivation Sarracenia just stand usely in pots in a saucer with water. And they grow very well then also.

Alexander

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Mike, fantastic site.

I have enjoyed every single report you made recently. What a treat!

Fran├žois.

You're welcome Francois! I'm just returning the favor-I've also really enjoyed your posts on the sarracenias in Apalachicola!

Martin-I just got back from visiting Darlingtonias in the wild this weekend, so there's more to report in the next few weeks.

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Just spotted that already - great!

here's more to report in the next few weeks

Looking forward to that! Thanks and regards

Martin

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