ICPS - Cephalotus article by Richard Nun, Volume 43 March 2014


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Permission from ICPS was sort from author to put into all forums.

Here the whole PDF file with the pictures can be downloaded:

https://www.dropbox....nl-43-01-05.pdf

News and Views .

Cephalotus follicularis cultivars and forms in cultivation –

is there a basis for the current naming protocols?

Richard Nunn • richardjn[email protected]

Keywords: Cephalotus follicularis, cultivation, cultivar.

Volume 43 March 2014

Over the past few years the author has watched with interest as cultivators of Cephalotus follicularis have attempted to find some points of difference to apply cultivar names, some registered, most not. Unfortunately, in what appears to be a push for commercial gain, the current plethora of cultivar names has reached the point of ridiculous, and one which unfortunately is also gaining popularity with other genera of carnivorous plants. Human nature is such that when we get bitten by the collecting bug we want to have every species or variation of it in our collections and I fear that this is now occurring with C. follicularis. The objective of this article is to try and bring some common sense to the naming of C. follicularis forms and preventing collectors from wasting their money on dubious and spurious forms and cultivars of this plant. Having, over the past 30 years cultivated this genus (with varying levels of success) and in the past decade documented and photographed this plant in multitudes of locations in its natural habitat, I feel that I have some basis for passing comment on this topic. The assertions in this article are my own views, but are supported by similar views of authorities such as Phill Mann, Allen Lowrie, and Greg Bourke, who have seen and studied C. follicularis at multiple locations in its natural habitat and cultivated many clones of this plant.

For a number of years Phill Mann and I have been trying to find stable variations in C. follicularis, but in cultivation they always tend to revert to the mean, and plants from different sites that looked different in the field (see figures) tend to all end up looking pretty similar in the same conditions. Sure some plants color up a bit more and others might produce a larger pitcher, but it is often not the most colorful or largest pitchers from the field that translate into these specimens in cultivation. I think it is worth noting that any collected specimens were done legally under permit and only cuttings taken so as not to remove any plants. A simple comparison between C. follicularis and Dionaea and Sarracenia cultivars shows that the latter hold true to form when basic conditions such as light, temperature, and water levels are met, i.e. a Sarracenia 'Adrian Slack' tends to look the same for most growers who have a basic idea of how to grow them, the same cannot be said for C. follicularis. Sure if you want to grow them under high intensity light they will color up and some will show different shades to others, but this is not how they grow in the field.

Having seen many natural sites and cultivated plants over the years, the conclusion I arrive at is that C. follicularis is very reactive to its micro habitat. There are some broad generalizations that hold true, in bright light the plants will color up and the pitchers tend to be smaller and more robust, in shade the pitchers can attain impressive dimensions and tend to stay green or lightly colored. However, to add to the confusion, plants in the field have been observed that behave in the opposite manner. In fact, at most sites in the wild, C. follicularis can be quite variable in terms of color, pitcher size, and growth habit. Often two plants growing next to each other will have different color and size. So what causes this variation, is it genetic or is it the micro habitat variables, such as nutrients, water, light, substrate, and temperature variation, all of which can vary subtly across one individual location? To be clear, the scientific research hasn’t been carried out to answer this conclusively. However, my observations, and those of others that have significant knowledge of this species both in its natural habitat and in cultivation, would point towards differences being environmentally induced rather than genetically.

Currently there are three registered C. follicularis cultivars, 'Eden Black', 'Hummer’s Giant', and 'Clayton’s T Rex', all of which I would question the validity. In no way do I want to down play the work done by the authors of these cultivars. I think we would all like to believe there are different forms of C. follicularis worthy of our collections; however, I have always been skeptical, because fundamentally C. follicularis differences are unstable in cultivation. They may hold true for one grower with unique conditions and for the next with good, but slightly different growing conditions, they won’t color up or the pitchers will only be of an average size.

Along the same lines is the disturbing emergence of names such as “Big Boy”, “German Giant”, “vigorous clumping”, and “squat”. These names are just simply not valid and there is enough evidence on the web to suggest that growers are struggling to find much difference in these clones in their conditions. The bottom line is they aren’t stable and people are wasting their money.

Where things have got really stupid is the emergence of names such as “Phill Mann” or “Allen Lowrie” being put on these plants and people actually collecting them. I can understand collectors putting the source of their plants on the back of the label, but to actually use this as a point of difference is ridiculous. In fact, most of the original clones of C. follicularis in cultivation today originated from Allen or Phill some 30 plus years ago, others would have been from plants collected by botanic gardens. Either way, the provenance of these plants is patchy to say the least. Let's use C. follicularis “Phill Mann” as an example. Over many years Phill has built up stock from legally collected cuttings (that means under permit) from plants from many sites. I have been in his greenhouse and they are all mixed up. Same story with Allen Lowrie, (again from legally collected cuttings) who clearly markets his plants as from a mix of multiple clones and sites. So if you are buying a piece of plant that has been labeled “Phill Mann” or “Allen Lowrie”, which clone are you getting, what location is it from? No one really knows. This is hardly a sensible way to categorize cultivars of C. follicularis.

It is easy to sit here and criticize attempts to categorize or split out different forms of C. follicularis without offering an alternative. I therefore propose that there is a more sensible approach to this issue. We are now seeing a few plants with location names entering cultivation, plants such as “Coalmine Beach” and “Two People’s Bay”. The problem for collectors is that the collection of these plants from the wild is strictly regulated and only a very few people have the necessary permits, particularly as the majority of C. follicularis sites are in National Parks. It will require some patience for properly named location clones of C. follicularis to enter cultivation, but over time it will happen. Knowing the provenance of a plant is valuable for several reasons, not least being that if a site is destroyed by man-made activity or act of nature, then we have a back-up in cultivation of genetic material that would otherwise be extinct. Also we know that C. follicularis is not stable in cultivation and it would make for interesting comparisons if collectors could discuss the variations in their plants from the same location. This is the same naming protocol that has taken hold with other genera of CPs. Specifically, Sarracenia and Nepenthes have been classified in cultivation using location names for some time.

I have no doubt this article will raise some debate, but I hope that some sanity will prevail and that the current naming of C. follicularis forms, which cynically seems to be aimed at commercial gain, will not take hold. Also the scientists in the CP community will probably criticize the lack of true research and data to support the claims in this work, but perhaps also it might encourage more detailed field research to unlock the secrets of this enigmatic species.

Volume 43 March 2014

Here the whole PDF file with the pictures can be downloaded:

https://www.dropbox....nl-43-01-05.pdf

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Interesting and informative.

I think the author has said it himself though.

There is no scientific data to support his claims.The plants growing side by side could be two totally different plants grown from seed,until this is proved it is all hypothetical.

It could be slight nutrient changes,through the roots or one plant attracts different prey to the other.

I agree cephs grow differently for different people and slight changes make all the difference.

But is the author going to distribute any named location plants or seed to growers for free!

Or is he trying to corner the market himself by belittling the plants that have been around for ages.

As he states only a few people are allowed to collect seed/plant cuttings legally,so only a few people in AUS could benefit hugely due to the recent high lighted prices of some plants.

I am in no way having a dig at the author or anyone in Australia,just raising a few points i can see from a few thousand miles away because unfortunatly i don't have the access to wild location plants.

Keep up the good work.

ada

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I have to agree entirely with ada.

I find the comment of "the disturbing emergence" of some unregistered plants somewhat amusing. To my personal knowledge, " Big Boy" has been in cultivation since 1983 and I have seen reports of" German Giant" being grown about the same time. "Big Boy was certainly not given the name for commercial gain for as I have stated before I have neither asked for nor received money for the plants of this clone I have personally distributed. However, as the plant was grown by very few until quite recently, I would question the validity of many of the plants with labels showing the name. I suspect this is also true for the other registered and non-registered clones.

I can't wait to be offered free location seed :smile:

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I have neither asked for nor received money for the plants of this clone I have personally distributed.

Awesome. Then I would like one spare plant Big Boy directly from you, Fred for free. This way I'll be sure I receive the genuine...

Do u want to PM you my address? :smile:

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Allow me a response to some of the remarks.

Richard Nunn is a board member of the ICPS and has no commercial interests in promoting specific plants. I think we should focus on the main point of this article which is that more and more people give a plant that does well for them an name and prizes shoot up. Few of these plants are registered cultivars and for most the supposed unique character is questionable as many won't display it under (slightly) different growing conditions. The whole point is that these so called unique character points are often not outside the range of normal variation in a population, in other words if you visit a healthy population you are likely to find plants that fit the typical form, as well as "Big Boy", "German Giant", etc perfectly. So one must ask the question if the named plants are really distinct enough to warrant a name or if people are just wasting a lot of money for less then a sure succes.

Remember also that we are talking of a single species so we don't have crosses, regressive factors etc that make e.g. Sarracenia and Nepenthes such a good subject for variation and possible cultivars.

The only variation in Cephalotus is the natural variation within the single species that responds to external conditions that will vary as those conditions vary. The only, limited, result of variation that can be achieved is by the very slow process of selective breeding, consequently crossing the largest or darkest plants among themself, discarding regular or less distinct plants. After many many years you might get a plant that genetically has a little more pigment or size. Most of the so called special plants on todays market won't meet this criterium as they are pcked out of a group and given an name straight away.

As I said in other posts on this forum, named locations have scientific value as opposed to the commercial values of cultivars and unregistered selections. Therefore I personally prefer those any day. If you want to spend a lot of money on those selectons, be my guest. Richard has just given you the change to stop and think for a moment...really..just think about it and if you have the time look up "tulip mania" on Google read it and look in the mirror.

Final remark: some people have suggested only that only a few people can collect location material so probably there is a commercial interest and to top this that this kind of material should be distributed for free. I hardly think that is a fair remark as nobody asks that named location Sarracenia should be distributed for free! As for collection permits, apart from straight scientists, to the best of my knowledge those are all held by the same people that distributed the original material in the first place.

Edited by Marcel van den Broek
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I have to agree entirely with ada.

I find the comment of "the disturbing emergence" of some unregistered plants somewhat amusing. To my personal knowledge, " Big Boy" has been in cultivation since 1983 and I have seen reports of" German Giant" being grown about the same time. "Big Boy was certainly not given the name for commercial gain for as I have stated before I have neither asked for nor received money for the plants of this clone I have personally distributed. However, as the plant was grown by very few until quite recently, I would question the validity of many of the plants with labels showing the name. I suspect this is also true for the other registered and non-registered clones.

I can't wait to be offered free location seed :smile:

sure I can give you free location seed , if you would be so kind to share the cost of going and locating these plants , may be then you mite be so wanting to put them out for free I bet !! each trip is around $600.00 AU ++

send me a money order when your ready for your free seed , any time , 1/2 cost payment will be fine , thanks :tu:

The author Richard , is not selling seed or plants ,has no interest in it at all , he tells me ,so no supply from him any where to any one .if your not sure just email him and ask !.

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Fair point John,

I can see how some people would want to recoup some of the costs involved.

It is only through people being willing to go to remote locations and collect seed or plant material that any of us grow most carnivorous plants at all.

I think it was the way the original article was written,belittleing the cephs people already grow as though they were inferior to seed location plants that are now in circulation.

These plants originally came from Oz as plants or seed from the wild,so why would they be inferior?

They grow well and survive in our cold damp climate,some of these new seed grown plants might not do so well!

I,m still not having a go at anyone,just saying my piece and joining in the discussion.

keep it coming

ada

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As I said in other posts on this forum, named locations have scientific value as opposed to the commercial values of cultivars and unregistered selections. Therefore I personally prefer those any day.

How would you regulate the location plants? A location label is not necessarily more scientifically valuable or accurate as a clonal name. The same as now will happen, plants will be labelled up to fit price.

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Fair point John,

I can see how some people would want to recoup some of the costs involved.

It is only through people being willing to go to remote locations and collect seed or plant material that any of us grow most carnivorous plants at all.

These plants originally came from Oz as plants or seed from the wild,so why would they be inferior?

They grow well and survive in our cold damp climate,some of these new seed grown plants might not do so well!

I,m still not having a go at anyone,just saying my piece and joining in the discussion.

keep it coming

ada

I think it was the way the original article was written,belittleing the cephs people already grow as though they were inferior to seed location plants that are now in circulation.

I am not sure what the Author was intending there my self ada , , so I cant answer it ,or for him , , he did tell me he would like to converse by email to any questions any one mite have , you would be more then welcome to email Richard as ask , no problems .

personally I dont have any problem with names of plants I got them my self as you know ,silly names , but I also have location names as well !.

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How would you regulate the location plants? A location label is not necessarily more scientifically valuable or accurate as a clonal name. The same as now will happen, plants will be labelled up to fit price.

cant say what will happen Fred, mine are not for sale , and dough any will be for some time if ever ., seed well that my be different !! if they do , getting them to places is a expensive proposition with our export laws and license needed to do so , so may be will reflect a price yes one day .

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This seems to be a very delicate topic indeed.

I think Cephalotus grows differently because of the circumstances it gets, lighting nutrition ... . So my Big Boy might be darker or lighter then the one somebody else is growing but as long as I am sure (or almost sure) that I have the real deal I am happy already. The distinct characteristics of Cephalotus is just to distinct and to fussy. That makes it just the more difficult.

I do agree that some people charge to much money for some plants which is a pity but money and people are never a good match.

On the other hand I am very happy that I've received 2 plants with location from Dimitar (and John) and these I won't sell for any money in the world. I am gratefull to them for the opportunity to grow these and I respect their wishes regarding these plants and I wouldn't want somebody to commercialise these and try to get big €€ out of them.

To conclude I just like to say that this article is an interesting read for sure but my mind about Cephs isn't changed at all. They are difficult to distinguish. I do think that the plants with location are valuable but so are (some of ) the clones in cultivation. But some of the prices I see on ebay are really to much especially that if you think that in the end ... all the Cephs are typicals.

Just adding my thoughts.

Edited by Veek
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How would you regulate the location plants? A location label is not necessarily more scientifically valuable or accurate as a clonal name. The same as now will happen, plants will be labelled up to fit price.

Yes, it is. A location label, if proper records are kept makes it possible to link a plant to a specific population of these plants and corrsponding genetics. That opens all kinds of possibilties including even some from a cultivation point of view: the breeding between unrelated plants. A clone without a location is just a decoration object. You don't know anything about it and you like it or you don't and you give it a place or not.

I very much regret that people insist on money as factor in this discussion as it distract annoyingly from the real discussion about how special are selected plants really compared to natural variation.

A Dutch expression about the value of an object translates as "What a madman will give for it". This is in my opinion too often the case with CP's. I won't say people can't make money of plants, the nursery trade is a respect way of earning a living and why should an amateur don't make some money but I very much regret that to often it seems to be only about money.

People react as if their daily income is at risk if somebody states that he thinks a large portion of plants with a name don't deserve that distinction. Makes me think of good old Billy Shakespeare: "Methinks the lady doth protest too much"

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Huh, need to catch up the posts guys. What did I mist ?!... umm, Fred what happened with my free plant?

I have added your name to the back of the queue

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Wow that's incredible, even can't believe that. This is a huge generosity.

But no thanks, I changed my mind. I don't found it is necessary to grow this plant because it is not special for me. :tu:

So back to the point, does somebody know if C.f Dudley Watts is registered as cultivar? Fred, maybe u know something? :biggrin:

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Wow that's incredible, even can't believe that. This is a huge generosity.

But no thanks, I changed my mind. I don't found it is necessary to grow this plant because it is not special for me. :tu:

No problem :smile: I would have been dead before I sent you one anyway :tu:

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No problem :smile: I would have been dead before I sent you one anyway :tu:

Now serious - Fred, we can joke a lot in the forum threads, but please do not say so serious words about your death. Even if you say it as a joke, I do not find it funny at all.

So I wish you healthy and long life. :tu:

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Morning chaps and lady chaps, I would like to ask is C.f Dudley Watts is cultivar? Maybe it is newly registered as cultivar but I didn't know that. Does somebody know that story?

Thanks

Dimi ,seen it sold on EBay by some one ?, as cultivar , so if its not , then that is very misleading, , is there a reg check some where, i never seen it or used it my self ,so unsure!. sure it can be looked up !.

Edited by snapperhead51
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