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D. californica "LEH" Del Norte Co, CA-a breath-taking site!

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Deep in the mountains, perhaps a good hour drive on dirt roads out in the middle of nowhere, Rob Co of the pitcher plant project ( ) and I reached the peak of a mountain, and knew the plants were around here somewhere. Thing is, the habitat completely looked wrong: there were sheer cliffs, and it really didn't seem like there were any streams or water sources nearby. So many unmarked dirt roads veered off the main dirt road. Was that the right one to take, and did we just drive by the site? Doesn't look like even trucks can make it very far on these side roads (and indeed, we had to eventually stop because the boulders in the road were too big).

At first, we kept driving, thinking we would just see the site off the side of the road, but then it turned into a deep forest. We definitely passed the site-Damn! Where is it? On the way back, almost about to give up, we saw a really sketchy dirt road that didn't look like it had been driven on for a while...well, we're out in the middle of nowhere, might as well try it! Hey, at least we found some other sites earlier, so if we don't find anything now, at least it's really beautiful out here! A short distance down the road, the boulders were getting bigger and bigger, and even my rental truck was scraping the ground. Hope we don't get stuck, because it would probably take a complete day or two to walk back. We decided to park.

The scenery out there was fantastic-as far as you could see were rocky mountains with sparse, dying trees. We saw a little spring, but no cobra plants....I really had my doubts that this was the right place. As we scouted the area and looked at the landscape, my eyes fixated on some shrubs in the distance:

Mike: "NO WAY!!! There they are, I see them right over there!!!" I wasn't 100% sure, but said it with such confidence. At this point, like a person in the desert looking for water, everything looked like a Darlingtonia to me.

Rob: "Are we there yet? IF anyone can find them, you can!"

Mike: "Let's roll down this dangerous rocky mountain...might end up acing ourselves, but hey, we'll probably make it"

Rob: "Okay, you know me, let's do this! And by the way, are we there yet? Oh wait, I see them too, damn Mike, you weren't playin!"

Mike: " holy S***, F*** ya Bro, who's yo Daddy? Word to yo mama, yo dada, Mother F... ya...... (and every other explicative you can think of used in an excited context) we found it!!!"

Okay, so it didn't happen exactly like that, but I think you get the point-we were excited as can be :)

We were standing on a dirt road that was "turning back to nature" (ie. shrubs and trees were growing in it from a lack of use) and we were looking into the distance, trying to see if there was anything there. Can you spot the darlingtonias? It was pretty lucky that we saw them from here because I was about ready to turn back:


It was ridiculously beautiful out there:


Notice how desolate the landscape is...the substrate here is almost pure rock. No wonder other plants can't grow here. I also believe there was a fire here quite a few years ago, which really cleared up the site (update: I just learned there was a massive fire here in 2002 that cleared out approx. 500,000 acres of forest. This used to have more vegetation):


This site had multiple fens to the left and to the right. Here's just one of them, and it's massive! some seeps go for as far as the eye can see:


When it opened up, they became these massive seeps:


IT was so peaceful at this site...jaw-dropping plants everywhere, and the background scenery was breath-taking:


Looking up the mountain:


A log had fallen, holding up substrate and making an ideal habitat:


Darlingtonia waterfall-nature is really creative:


These plants were just perfect:


Edited by meizwang
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Water stress causing this reddish clone to turn yellow?


Red butterworts were here too (P. macroceras ssp. nortensis). Notice the rocky substrate:


And regular butterworts:


Nice population. Not the densest patches out there, but definitely the largest fens I've ever seen:


A little creek to the side:


Some beautiful clones:


and beautiful colors:


Bright red:


Another red clone:


Nice tongue:


Another neat tongue:


Another color form:


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Light red, almost a coppery color:


yellow top:


And a mixed color form with a huge head:


There were some really dark red/almost purple ones here, just like plants at the alpine farms site:


They were hard to photograph:


But these dark red/purple clones almost made me want to cry, haha! Just look at this patch:


Some of the fens were densely packed:


Some were packed with reds:


and I mean packed with some nice reds!



Lets look at one of them closer up:


I started to lose count as to how many fens were here at this site, it was incredible:


Got to love the pure rock substrate:


Cobras glowing in the backlight:


Okay, more to come, so stay tuned!

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Mike,you and Rob are very lucky people.These site you are showing us are just breath taking.

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Thank you everyone! Indeed, it's quite a priviledge to visit such sites, and also very dangerous! These are very remote sites, and even if you have a good sense of direction, it's really easy to get lost out there. I had never been to this site previously because it requires an offroad vehicle to access. There aren't any obvious landmarks either, and many of the roads as mentioned above aren't named (sometimes, it's hard to tell if they are still roads that can be driven on!). Even if you know exactly where it is on a map, finding it in person is a different story, and it's a pleasure to share with you all what we saw! Will get more pictures up soon!

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Some more shots, with an emphasis on capturing the seeps themselves as a whole.

Now this is what I call a peaceful environment:


You can see Rob way in the background-this spot was pretty gigantic:


Rob snappin a pic:


Some of these had red bodies and yellow heads!



as far as the eye can see, there were cobras:


The site just kept going-it was quite a hike back up:






There's 3 or 4 seeps that feed into this field:


red plants everywhere:


loved the habitat here:


Couple more photos left!

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We had some great shots of Darlingtonia in the wild from Mike recently. There's been typical plants, red ones, yellow headed ones, the red/purple type shown here, some with different shaped tongues etc. I just wonder how many of these different types are in cultivation. I know all I've got could be considered typical (apart from Othello). Is there a list somewhere of what's commercially available and who's got what? If there's nothing in existence maybe we could start a list ourselves. Personally I'd like to see some of these exceptional clones entering cultivation by seed collection (done legally of course) if that's at all possible.

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The last of the photos-I didn't even notice the spider web in this photo!


They look so amazing with the light in the background:


Nature at its best:


Correction, this is even better:


this is the color you see in person:


Love this shot:


So i took another:



Endless plants here with incredible colors:






some more dark reds:


I bet these get even darker as the cold winter nights creep in:



What an amazing plant:



Very dense population:


Even the babies were impressive:


Butterworts hanging on for their lives:


These probably aren't always submerged under water. Take a good look at the substrate:


These plants grow in almost pure gravel/rock:


On our way back to the car:


One last look before we leave-goodbye site-this was a dream come true!


Edited by meizwang
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some new photos from this site, taken October 2014. We didn't have as much time to explore this time, so I was snapping shots as fast as possible.

This clone is just stunning:


Lights up like a freakin lantern. I could only imagine having a Darlingtonia lantern at home...maybe something southern oregon indians did centuries ago to keep their TeePees lit at night:


This guy got stuck among some branches:


Red body and yellow top:


Love these bi-colored traps:


There were pretty large populations of them. I wonder if these were clones or individual genetically different plants:


I mean, there were dozens of them all concentrated next to each other:


red P. macroceras ssp. nortensis:


They were just starting to go dormant:


Anyone have an ID for this flower?



Some more color forms:





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Amazing, unique colors:











These are the darkest red darlingtonias I've ever seen:



dark red with extensive windows:



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Thank you so much, Meizwang, for the sharing of these amazing pics!!!!! Only with these photos, I can see the habitats of Darlingtonia!!!!

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You're welcome Abadei, it's always fun to share!

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Is there a best topic(s) (2014) award for the forum?


I think that you would get my vote for this year and every other year that you have posted your 'adventures'.


Even my wife, who cares dick about plants, spent an inordinate amount of time looking through this and then some of your other posts. High praise indeed my friend.


Do you (are you allowed to) collect seed? I have no idea what the local 'ground rules' are. Presumably one can't walk around with a spade and a potato sack. Is (moderate) seed collection allowed? Leaf cuttings? Cell samples?

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I'm sure that I have asked before, but just how does one cram so many 'national parks' into such a 'small area' (OR CA ID ...) (about 10x the size of Islands I inhabit)?


Makes me laugh when people ((nasty, watermelon people) here in W. Europe) talk about how the Americans have destroyed their environment. What a lovely country. Something for everyone, NY for those preferring Cities, LV for those preferring 'gambling and hookers' and, failing that, SW Oregon/ N. California if one wants a day out in the mountains looking at Darlings. What an incredible country you have there. Should I win the 'Euro Millions' lottery then you can be sure that I will be knocking on your door for advice about where to visit next on my lifelong tour of North America.


Thank you very much for your posts, the photo's are inspiring.

Edited by Hud357

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I know that this is 'the net' but a 'first' name? (I'm trying to follow links and have no idea who is who. I'm relatively new here.)


(A few weeks ago Mike Wang and I...) who is who?


Don't worry if you wish to maintain a net anonymity. I was just trying to work out who was who in links (being new here). If one wishes to remain 'meizwang' then that is fine with me. Perhaps PM?

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Meizwang is Mike Wang - who's posted lots of great stuff on here. His mate Rob is Rob Co who I don't think has an account here, but I could be wrong, runs 'The Pitcher Plant Project'. I hope they don't mind me telling everyone :whistle3:

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No worries, my name is no secret :)  I'm sure Rob doesn't mind either.

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