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Several populations of "red flavas" exist in northwestern Florida: Liberty Co, Bay Co, Walton Co, Okaloosa Co, and Santa Rosa Co, FL (they probably are found in other counties as well). Flavas with red bodies and green lids are considered S. flava var. rubricorpora, whereas flavas with solid red bodies are considered S. flava var. atropurpurea.

In Liberty Co and Bay Co, there are large populations of S. flava var. rubricorpora, but arguably, some consider individuals in these populations S. flava var. atropurpurea because at the time they were seen, the plant was solid red. Trouble is, in cultivation, amongst many different growers, it has been shown that many plants labeled "atropurpurea" start off with a green lid, and as the pitcher ages, the entire trap turns solid red. Are these rubricorporas, or are these atropurpureas?

Interestingly enough, in Okaloosa Co, FL and Santa Rosa Co, FL, there are both plants that resemble S. flava var. rubricorpora and S. flava var. atropurpurea. The S. flava var. atropurpureas from these sites start off solid red. However, plants from these sites strongly resemble the rare S. flava var. atropurpurea found in the Carolinas. Do these "atropurpureas" from Okaloosa Co and Santa Rosa Co, FL occur naturally, or did someone plant them at these sites?

In Santa Rosa Co, FL, Damon, Axel and I visited 2 different sites that were roughly 20 miles away from each other (ie.not within a reasonable distance to hybridize with each other) and we found red plants at both of these sites!

Here's site #1 in santa Rosa Co, FL. This is an old pitcher from the summer, and the lid is still green, while the body is solid red. Arguably, this can be considered S. flava var. rubricorpora (although, genetically, I think this is plant is very different from the bay co and liberty co plants):


Another shot:


Close up of the lid:


Same site, baby "S. flava var. rubricorpora" plant:


Now, let's go 20 miles away to site #2, and here we have what appears to be S. flava var. atorpurpurea. Was the lid on this plant green before it turned solid red? I don't know, but my gut says no:


Same plant, back view:


This one seems to be back-crossed with S. flava var. rugelii:


And at this same site, we found S. x catesbaei: notice the strong resemblance in color. Hmmmmmm:


A group of S. flava var. "atropurpureas" with S. flava var. rugeliis:


Now, let's take a tour of the famous site in Okaloosa Co, FL, where there's a very large S. flava var. atropurpurea population. Notice I'm using the word "atropurpurea" here with confidence: These plants have been verified to produce solid red lids on brand new pitchers. Here's a distant view of the largest population of S. flava var. atropurpureas in this area:


Breath-taking beauty!





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Now, here we are, at the same site in okaloosa Co, FL, with this suspicious looking plant:


. Some might call the plant above S. flava var. cuprea, although it looks quite different from the verified cupreas of the Carolinas. I won't go into details about the S. flava var. cuprea that was found by sunbelle near panama City. For more details, check out this thread: http://sarracenia.proboards.com/thread/873/newly-registered-cultivar-atropurpurea-rubricorp?page=4&scrollTo=4040

And what do we have here? Oh yes, at this "atropurpurea" site in Okaloosa Co, FL, there's what appears to be a S. flava var. rubricorpora. This leads me to believe that rubricorporas in Bay Co and Liberty Co are of hybrid origin, but they stabilized (sorta) over time:


Another shot, and remember, these are old pitchers:


But let's go back to the atropurpureas at okaloosa Co, FL because they're just so amazing:



We weren't there at the best time, but they were still amazing:


More shots of the atropurpureas:





Damon in the background to give you scale:


This was "across the street" in another nearby field:


Growing amonst S. flava var. rugeliis (which, by the way, were jaw dropping as well):


Sorry, I'm no professional photographer:


stunning field:


This site is well maintained and burned regularly:


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What do you get when the reds backcross with the rugeliis? Monsters:


crazy, amazing monsters:


or weird looking ones:


Now when I say monster, I mean it: this thing is gigantic:


"hey Damon, yeah, hold it right there-perfect!":


Or even better yet, when you back-cross S. flava var. atropurpureas with S. flava var. rugelii, you get S. flava var. ornatas:


S. flava var. ornata:


These ornatas look like watered down S. flava var. atropurpureas, except they're drop dead beautiful:


S. flava var. ornata:


another shot of the ornatas:


And just for the sake of comparison, here's a fall pitcher of S. flava var. rubricorpora in situ in Liberty Co, FL. Notice how the lid is still green:


At this same liberty Co, FL site, there are also ornatas, but look how different they are from the ones above:


And here's what I believe to be S. flava var. rubricorpora from Bay Co, FL. These are old traps that have turned solid red, but were green when they first opened:


And an overview of the S. flava var. rubricorpora population. Many will argue these are atropurpureas:


Now, with my slanted opinions, let the debates begin, haha!

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Great photos.

Two issues:

• is a plant identifiable by its mature appearance, or its colour change over time? Clearly plenty of plants would be simply unidentifiable in this instance. Personally (and I know others argue otherwise by discussing genetics within differing populations), a plant is best identifiable when given what it requires to thrive, especially maximum sun.

When it comes to NC var. atropurpureas, with populations so depleted it's hard to know much about them. To me it seems odd to label a red plant with a green under-lid as atropurpurea because the lid started off red and we know it came from a location where there were a number of all red plants. Yes the genes are floating about in that one area, but as we know, individual plants can pop up that have characteristics unlike their parents.

• hybrids between flava varieties will obviously 'fit' into one of the boxes we've given them. Your copper topped hybrid appears to be a var. cuprea. The rugelli / rubricorpora hybrid appears to be a var. flava.

Fine when the parents are nearby and identifiable. But whose to say ALL ornatas and cupreas weren't originally the result of hybridisation. It is likely that a var. cuprea popped up once in NC as a result of hybridising varieties, and for whatever reason the genes persisted and they became the dominant variety in a number of locations.

Would be interesting to hear Steve McPherson's take on all this. He's the man in the field!

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Thanks Alexis, and great points! It's my belief that most, if not all flava variants are of hybrid origin. I think we can all agree that each population of "red flavas" is genetically unique, and this is why county and state location data is important.

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Here are my thoughts as posted originally on The Sarracenia Forum.

Amazing place Mike. Must've been brilliant to visit and thanks for the posting the terrific photos and a matter worthy of debate, as you say!

As for the question of "atropurpurea" in these infamous sites and perhaps lone individuals within var. rubricorpora stands, I still don't buy it. My views have been well laid out but put basically I don't accept the variety name based on the following while fully recognising you have visited the plants in person:

1) S.flava var. atropurpurea is a name assigned to a distinct population of a red form of plants in the Carolinas they being isolated from the ones in your photos both genetically and geographically.

2) Those Carolina var. atropurpurea share an intimate relationship with the region's S.flava var. flava as evidenced in this and other photos of wild plants (photo Don Schnell, CPN Volume 27, Number 4, December 1998, pages 116-120 )


A. var maxima, B. var atropurpurea, C. var flava, D. var ornata, E. var cuprea

3) The "atropurpurea" in your and other's photos are seen in an intimate relationship with S.flava var. rugelii. Clearly, there exists a foundational relationship between the red plants and var rugelii.

4) This relationship between red S.flava and var. rugelii occurs in a number of locations in the Florida Panhandle as you note. In the locations you highlight, the red plants are intermingled with or alongside var. rugelii. Indeed, looking at your photos I believe the hood form of the "atropurpurea" is distinctly Florida Panhandle - particularly representative of the var. rubricorpora broad, floppy morphology. By that proposition they are quite distinct from S.flava hood form in plants native to the Atlantic coastal plain.

5) The genetics in these Panhandle S.flava populations allow for the expression of the cut throat var. rugelii; the yellow lid red tube var. rubricorpora; and the all red plants wherever they are found. My position is that all three of these are related and their expression is a broad one. The expression of var.rugelii in these locations is, in fact, no less notable than that of var. rubricorpora or the all red plants other than being deemed the so by human beings.

6) S.flava var. rubricorpora has, since Schnell's 1998 paper naming the variety and beyond, been acknowledged as being highly variable with a wide spectrum. In his book, Sarraceniaceae of North America, McPherson notes this as "The overall colouration of Sarracenia flava var. rubricorpora is extremely variable" (p 249). In his earlier volume, Pitcher Plants of the Americas, McPherson highlights this theretofore accepted variability in the following photo line up of var. rubricorpora specimens. Note the fully infused red/purple specimen on the right (Photo Stewart McPherson)


7) I ask again, what of the two plants in this photo of my own Florida red wild sourced genetic stock that has remained isolated from interbreeding since germination from the same seed pod? What is the plant on the left? And, the one on the right? It is in a sense irrelevant which location these two clones are from outside of the fact they are from the Panhandle like so many others standing in the various habitats as we speak.


8) Referring to your Site #2 photo and your hunch as to hood colour at opening, what (again from the Florida Panhandle) is this one and what was its hood colour at opening?


9) In closing, even if the submission is correct that some of them open as all red, I reiterate my contention that the "atropurpurea" in the Panhandle are sufficiently distinct from S.flava var. atropurpurea as found 700 miles east (a massive advance on 20 miles) that they should not share the name. Whilst I am happy to have the all red "atropurpurea" accepted as part of the var. rubricorpora spectrum with out the attached "atropurpurea" moniker, I am also open to those entirely red plants as evidenced in your photos to be classified with a variety name identifying them as something distinct within what are otherwise Panhandle genetics where they both are found and spring from. I guess the question then is: what name would be appropriate....?

10) As for the transplanted theory? I simply cannot accept that until evidence fixing the event comes to light. For all the reasons I have given above and elsewhere, I think the answer to these red S.flava is to be found by un-impassioned observation of the populations and, moreover, future genetic research to determine the nature of the exhibited relationship with var. rugelii.

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I'm curious about something. Would seeds from any of the varieties at that one site produce ornatas, cupreas and rubricorpora offspring? If so, then why are there any varieties at all? The more I read you guys posts the more I think all flavas are the same with just different color.

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KE: I think you're spot on! To support what you're saying, read this post about producing atropurpureas from rubricorporas: http://sarracenia.proboards.com/thread/273/flava-var-atropurpurea

I'm curious about something. Would seeds from any of the varieties at that one site produce ornatas, cupreas and rubricorpora offspring? If so, then why are there any varieties at all? The more I read you guys posts the more I think all flavas are the same with just different color.

yes, rubricorporas from Liberty Co, FL can produce ornatas, flava rugelii's rubricorporas, and "atropurpureas.". Seeds from cupreas from the carolinas can produce flava var. flavas, cupreas, flava ornatas, and even atropurpureas. Rubricorporas from Bay Co, FL can produce "atropurpureas, ornatas, rugeliis (with crazy throats!), and rubricorporas.

Why are any of these considered a variety at all? That all depends on how one defines a species and variety. There's as many definitions as there are opinions.

Edited by meizwang
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So, thats why these sites always produce different looking flavas because any of the different varieties can produce any other variety. That right there is just crazy. So, does this go for all sarrs or just flavas. Can I get a venosa from a purp purp? What about alata nigrapupurea from a typical alata?

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So, thats why these sites always produce different looking flavas because any of the different varieties can produce any other variety. That right there is just crazy. So, does this go for all sarrs or just flavas. Can I get a venosa from a purp purp? What about alata nigrapupurea from a typical alata?

Nature is dynamic, which makes naming these plants very difficult. Some venosas have flava mixed in them, and some breed true...depends on what clone you're using, or the individuals' genetic make up. A lot of these plants hybridized many generations ago with other species, but are so back-crossed that you can't tell just by looking at them. Can you get a purp. purp. from a venosa? Probably, if you are using genetics from the NJ area or north of it, where purp. purp and venosa seem to have hybridized and then stabilized.

You can certainly get a regular alata from an alata nigra purpurea, and probably vice versa, but I haven't tried the reverse cross yet. The wild is so genetically diverse, which is one of the key factors to the species' survival. Knowing what I've seen from breeding Sarracenia species, I wouldn't want to be responsible for naming these variants!

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Well, you're talking about two different kinds of S. flava!

So first divide the flava that occur next to S. purpurea vs. those which appear next S. rosea.

I believe most of the red colorations we see on S. flava are from hybrids with S. purpurea up north and S. rosea down south. This is because all three of these species are early season flowering. Hybrids between late flowering species and early flowering species are quite rare. While hybrids between S. flava and S. rosea can out number the pure individuals in the population. The fact the plants are covered in red is an indication to me that two different red coloration patterns are being overlayed in single individuals.

Edited by Dave Evans
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Another thing...are varieties just "recognized" or "named" phenotypes?

As explained by the author, Dr. Schnell, these are just the most easily reconized phenotypes. Most individuals in any given population will not be pure examples of the phenotypes but mixtures thereof.

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Let me get this straight :-)

I cross an all red flava from NC and an all red flava from Florida. Both have red lids from opening.

Offspring 1 is completely red from opening, including the lid.

Offspring 2 has a red tube and green lid. By the third week it has turned completely red, indistinguishable from the first offspring.

Offspring 3 opens with a red tube and mottled red/ green lid and underside of the lid. It goes a bit more red in week two and three, but green parts still visible.

It is week 3. Label the three plants above.

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Gee Alexis, why do you have to make sense like that? It is so rude, taking away confusion and replacing it with thought... Just kidding!

I find these names to be fairly useless. Don's measurements about how the different colored plants grow differently is weak and needs to be repeated over more times for it mean much to me and he then also needs to review any changes in the soil as well. Just because Dr. Schell measured one group that grew differently from the next, doesn't mean this situation is going repeat following the same pattern next time his takes measurements nor that the changes in coloration were even attached to the difference in growth he noticed. Also, taking measurements from the same individuals and not a wide sampling of the color morph will not give much information of the color morph in genernal, but those individuals in particular. Rather, I prefer using cultivar or cultivar group names for these variously colored S. flava. Also, all the color patterns seen in S. flava are also seen in both S. rosea and S. purpurea. And even S. psittacina.

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So how can you identify 1 and 2 if you look at them on week 3 and know nothing about how they coloured up? :-)

You cant. Read Kiwi Earls' thread on atropurpureas. Its really in depth and it talks about exactly what youre asking. 2 and 3 would be considered really dark rubricorporas. Now, this is just from my limited understanding.

NM...youve read it lol. Was going to put up a link. I think Earl has did his homework and makes the strongest argument on what makes an atro and atro and what makes a rubri a rubri.

Edited by Defalotus
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