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This site is unique in the sense that it occurs in a chaparral habitat. A chaparral habitat is a community of plants consisting mainly of short, dense shrubs. In california, you will find a lot of manzanita, some madrone, caenothus, sage, etc. growing in such habitats. This plant community will eventually become very thick, and relies heavily on fire every 2-3 decades or so to clear out the vegetation and allow new growth to resume. Many of the seeds in this plant community will only germinate when burned .A chaparral habitat is much like a Sarracenia habitat in the sense that it relies on fire for long term maintenance.

One thing notable in this population of Darlingtonias is that in previous years, there were many burnt, "sorry" looking plants. When I last visited this site in 2010, I thought it was just bad weather that's causing mechanical damage to the traps. However, upon seeing this site again in 2013 and seeing the same high ratio of burnt/dead traps, it seems like the issue is this site! Other neighboring seeps were in perfect condition this year.

Chaparral communities are generally in full sun and have little protection from trees, and my haunch is that it gets too hot every summer at this site, which causes the pitchers to burn. I've seen the same thing happen to an "inland" population in Oregon that also gets full sun and seems to have sun-burnt pitchers year after year.

Interestingly, these populations remain healthy, and even if the main plant dies, they send out so many stolons, it doesn't matter. Despite the heat stress, Almost every last square inch of colonizable space is occupied by Darlingtonia at this site:

Overview of "cedar springs": Despite the high ratio of dead pitchers, this site is in fairly good shape-there are a lot of healthy rhizomes in there. Photos taken 10/12/13:

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another shot of the seep-notice how the surrounding vegegation is pretty short:

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A cedar branch is seen on the left of this fen:

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If you look in the background of this photo, notice the short shrubby chaparral habitat. Aside from the seep, this entire surrounding area is very dry:

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The fen flows into some thick shrubs:

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Did genetics cause this trap to turn a mouth-watering bright yellow, or is it from water/heat stress? This was in the middle of the "creek" so I have doubts about water stress causing this:

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What an amazing color!

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I'll have to come back in a few years and see if this thing is yellow year after year

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Happy traps:

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Weird tongue:

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These were looking great. The site actually looked better this year than in 2010:

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Some fall colors in the background-the surroundings really increased the beauty of this site :

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Sooooo many dead traps:

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Edited by meizwang

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Notice to the lower left of the photo, there's nothing growing there, even though conditions are seemingly perfect (ie. plenty of water, ideal substrate, plenty of sun). Can you guess why?

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Rob Co in the background to give you scale of the size of this site (it was actually relatively small):

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Full sun!

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Oh wait, this is a better picture of "full sun":

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The darlingtonias blend in so well-who would have thought they'd grow in such a habitat?

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Another happy clump. Interestingly, plants at this site benefit from the shrubs growing thicker as it shades them from the summer heat. None of these plants in this exact spot were burnt:

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Last but not least, a really beautiful, shapely clone:

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Great images and nice to see them in the wild but can you tell me what the shrub growing inbetween them is? It can be seen in close up on the image with the yellow trap.

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Little-Bacchus-there are azaleas and rhododendrons here as well. I can't remember off the top of my head what that shrub is you're referring to, but I know it's very aromatic, and the Native Americans used to make tea out of it.

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Did you happen to open up any "burned" pitchers to see how effective they'd been?

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Fred-I didn't open any pitchers at this site, but we did dissect 2 pitchers from a different site. It was really surprising to see that these plants aren't catching many insects at all...nothing close to what you'd see in a Sarracenia for example. We saw maybe 10-20 flies, bees, wasps, and other flying crittes in there. Both pitchers we opened were filled with fly larva/maggots-pretty nasty stuff if you ask me, haha

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I suppose you could raise the maggots and see what adults they hatch out into. :lol:

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Fred-I didn't open any pitchers at this site, but we did dissect 2 pitchers from a different site. It was really surprising to see that these plants aren't catching many insects at all...nothing close to what you'd see in a Sarracenia for example. We saw maybe 10-20 flies, bees, wasps, and other flying crittes in there. Both pitchers we opened were filled with fly larva/maggots-pretty nasty stuff if you ask me, haha

So lucky to be able to study them in such numbers in the wild... I'll have to look up the aromatic plant you saw growing with them. I'm always interested in companion plants be they beneficial or not.

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