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Darlingtonias typically grow on hillside seeps high in the rocky, nutrient poor mountains. If they're found in a forest, the trees are usually either stunted or dying due to the harsh environmental conditions. However, one site has been discovered in the middle of the forest, which is a completely anomalous place to find cobra lilies. For a cool video and even more photos of darlingtonias in the wild, check out Rob Co's famous The Pitcher Plant Project:

I visited this site in 2010, and according to Damon Collinsworth of California Carnivores and Harry Tryon, a local Darlingtonia expert, the site looked a lot worse than it did approx. 10 years ago. Back then, they recalled the site was a lot more open, and is now getting shadier and shadier.

Three years after visiting this site, my good friend Rob Co of the pitcher plant project and I revisited this site, and I was expecting "sarracenia doom and gloom." Was this site completely shaded out now, and how are the plants doing?

To my surprise, the site looked even better than it did in 2010! I actually have some shots that I took in 2010, and you can compare them to 2013!

Here's the site, photo taken 10/11/2013. Notice it's getting full sun!


a really beautiful site:




Ferns, azaleas, and other natives competing with Darlingtonia:


Notice the dead or dying tree in the background: ironically, this is what gives me hope that this site will continue. The seep is too toxic and boggy for trees to colonize:






Here's a picture of a darlingtonia plant from this site taken Sept. 17, 2010:


Here's the exact same plant 3 years later, photo taken 10/11/13. They normally are even bigger after 3 years, but I suppose things are a bit slower at this site:


To digress and belabor the point above, here's a clump at a different site, taken 9/17/10. There is one more plant behind it, but it's hard to tell because of the angle of the photo:


The clump in the foreground is the same exact plant as the photo above! When these things send out stolons, they can really get big quickly. Unlike Sarracenias, Darlingtonias are doing very well in the wild! Photo taken 10/11/13:


Edited by meizwang

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I now have a drool bucket. Do you have the elevation for this site please Mike?

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IF I had to guess, 900 meters, if not lower. From what the locals told me, it rarely snows in this area, although I have seen snow here before.

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A beatiful place and some gorgeous plants. Thanks for sharing!


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Missed this post originally. Great stuff Mike. Invaluable to those of us who haven't seen these spots with our own eyes. The Darlingtonia sites look like magical places to me, nothing but nature and the wind.

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Thanks for sharing ! Marvellous pictures and great report ! It's a real pleasure to read this ! I hope to see this place and plants from my own eyes one day ! Many thanks ! ;-)

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