Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Response to Take Down Garden Spray

As you may remember, I've been using Take Down Garden Spray on my collection recently to combat aphids. The active ingredients are pyrethrin and canola oil, so it's pretty gentle stuff. Still, some plants have reacted better than others.

Drosera collinsiae and Drosera ×snyderi have definitely not appreciated the applications.

Drosera collinsiae.
Don't look so down buddy.
Drosera ×snyderi.
Fried! Frazzled! An unhappy plant.
A handful of other plants have had a similar, but less severe, reaction. I'm using a 2% solution right now, and this is after I applied it twice in 5 days, and then didn't apply for a week. To be fair though, these two plants were both slow to settle into my conditions, and have both seemed a bit on the fragile side.

Other plants, like Drosera anglica CA × HI, have totally taken the spraying in stride.

Drosera anglica CA × HI.
I know I can always count on this guy to do well.
It's even blooming again! It bears repeating that this is one of the most vigorous plants in my collection as well. It just seems like the finicky plants are going to be finicky, and the robust plants won't mind (my Drosera adelae has also been fine, for example). It's not a surprising finding, but it's good to know.

On a related note, my Drosera spiralis is definitely not phased. Not only is it flowering again, but it's put out an offset for the first time!

Drosera spiralis.
Look at those cute little baby leaves.
I'm really inordinately fond of this species. It just does so well for me, and gives me all sort of nice surprises. Looking forward to the little guy growing up a bit.

Of course, none of this has addressed whether or not the aphids are being beaten back. Well, I think they are? I hope they are? I'll need to apply a few more times before I make a solid decision. However, I am considering going systemic pretty soon. My patience is wearing thin. We'll see!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Some new plants

Everyone (in the US at least) should check out Carnivorous Plant Auctions and Sales on Facebook. It's a great group to find uncommon plants for sale. Just recently I bought a couple plants from Brie, a grower in Washington state who has an amazing collection (I'm especially fond of her pings).

The first plant I got was a mature Pinguicula reticulata.

Pinguicula reticulata.
Some leaves fell off during potting, so I'm hoping I get some babies.
I just couldn't resist! I didn't want to wait for the little guy I got in the NASC auction to grow up.

Pinguicula reticulata.
Come on little guy!
And who knows, maybe it'll be two different clones and I can try cross-pollinating them at some point.

I also picked up a mature Dionaea 'Justina Davis'.

Dionaea muscipula 'Justina Davis'.
Flytraps are pretty cool I guess.
This all-green cultivar was registered by Barry Rice back in the days of yore (2006). Definitely a less-than-common cultivar with a funny story behind the name.

Finally, since I've been moving things around a bit under the lights I had room to start some new seeds. It's been a while since I started seeds!

Starting various Drosera from seed.
Starting from seed is so exciting.
These four pots contain seeds of Drosera burmannii (Gunug Keledang), Drosera filiformis "Florida all-red", Drosera brevifolia (Kountze, TX), and Drosera tomentosa. It's been a while since I've started from seed, so I'm excited to watch these guys get going.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A study in dew

I'm off traveling right now! I took some pictures of some of my dewiest plants before I left so I could share them with you all.

Drosera hamiltonii.
Drosera hamiltonii looking about as good as they ever do. It's pretty good!
Drosera prolifera.
Drosera prolifera has really liked the cooler temperatures in the garage.
Drosera capensis red form.
Drosera capensis red form leaf just showing off.
Drosera aliciae.
Drosera aliciae from the Community Pot. Great plant!
Drosera adelae.
These are the best-looking Drosera adelae in the colony right now. Lovely!
Sundews are the coolest.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Cute little ping pullings

I think Pinguicula are the most fun carnivorous plants to propagate. You don't need to prepare any pots or get all messy, and if the propagation attempt fails it's really not that big of a deal (unlike, say, dividing Sarracenia rhizomes). Also, the plantlets are so cute! Consider this Pinguicula esseriana:

Pinguicula esseriana leaf pulls.
I can't believe how tiny these are.
All of those little tiny leaves fell off when I was mailing off a plant for the NASC auction. Look at all the babies!

Another ping that has done really well at making babies is the Pinguicula rotundiflora that I won at said auction.

Pinguicula rotundiflora leaf pulls.
One of my favorite pings. Great leaf margins.
These guys have really taken off! That's like 5 or 6 for the price of one.

Let's see how my other recent leaf pulls are doing.

Pinguicula 'Pirouette' leaf pull.
Pinguicula 'Pirouette'. I think the mother plant is thinking about dividing as well.
Pinguicula gigantea leaf pull.
Pinguicula gigantea. This is one of the most popular plants in my collection. It's a charmer!
Pinguicula agnata leaf pull.
Pinguicula agnata looking pretty fine.
Pinguicula laueana leaf pulls.
Pinguicula laueana, another contender for the "leaf pulling champ" title.
That's quite a successful batch of pullings!

One plant that I've never yet successfully propagated is Pinguicula "Yucca Doo 1717".

Pinguicula "Yucca Doo 1717" with failed leaf pull.
I'll have to keep trying with this guy.
The leaves seem to wither very quickly. Maybe I'll just have to wait for the plant to divide itself naturally.

Finally, as I was taking pictures for this post, I decided to yank a leaf from Pinguicula sp. Tehuacán.

Pinguicula sp. Tehuacán with leaf pull.
Carnivorous leaves ahoy! This is gonna be a cute one.
If you do leaf pullings every few weeks you'll always have backup pings to grow and share. And they're so adorable!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sundew hybrids

There just aren't that many sundew hybrids. In part it's because of the genetic diversity in the genus. As much as one might wish to cross Drosera burmannii with Drosera cistiflora it's just not going to happen – Drosera species can only be crossed with relatively close relatives. Sarracenia and Nepenthes species, on the other hand, can all freely hybridize and produce fertile offspring.

Another limiting factor is that sundew hybrids are, broadly speaking, boring. Compare Drosera ×tokaiensis, probably the most well-known sundew hybrid (Drosera spatulata × rotundifolia) with Sarracenia ×catesbaei, one of the most common Sarracenia hybrids (Sarracenia flava × purpurea). To the untrained eye the two parents of D. ×tokaiensis are almost indistinguishable, while the parents of S. ×catesbaei are strikingly distinct. Morphological difference between parent plants is the most basic element in making an interesting hybrid.

Anyway, I started thinking of all this when I took this picture of Drosera ×snyderi to show to my friend Josh.

Drosera ×snyderi (Drosera dielsiana × nidiformis).
It took these plants a bit to settle in, but they're looking good now (aside from the aphid spraying).
D. ×snyderi is the unpublished, botanically invalid name for Drosera dielsiana × nidiformis. It's a pretty good-looking plant, really, and actually produces viable seed. It was created by the mad scientist of Drosera hybrids, Ivan Snyder.

Right nearby is this highly desirable hybrid, Drosera ×"Andromeda". Another unpublished name, this one indicates Drosera schizandra × prolifera.


Drosera ×"Andromeda" (Drosera schizandra × prolifera)
Plantlets! At least two!
This plantlet is the one I started directly on the moss. The cutting I started in water and then transferred to the moss seems to have withered. Another data point against the water float method for me – transfer to media seems to really mess with the plant.

Some sundew hybrids are really fantastic, such as this Drosera ultramafica × spatulata.

Drosera ultramafica × spatulata.
This hybrid really snuck up on me to become awesome.
This pot got 3rd in Sundews at the recent BACPS show. It's a beautiful bright red, even with regular feeding. I had thought that this was a sterile hybrid but I was wrong! There are plantlets all over my collection now.

The only rival the above plant has for redness in my collection is this Drosera ×tokaiensis, the "×" symbol signifying a man-made, rather than natural, hybrid of D. spatulata and D. rotundifolia.

Drosera ×tokaiensis (Drosera spatulata × rotundifolia).
This guy has been sadly ignored on the blog heretofore.
This plant is a darker, more maroon red color, and is in fact sterile. In case you're curious, by the way, you can make the × symbol by holding the ALT key and pressing 0-2-1-5 on the numpad in that order.

The natural D. tokaiensis is not quite as red, but it sets seed and has a charm all its own.

Drosera tokaiensis.
The Community Pot is one of my oldest groups of sundews.
I've definitely neglected the Community Pot lately (I lost Drosera allantostigma, alas), but it's just been chugging along. Need to trim those flower stalks though.

I also have some pygmy sundew hybrids! The first, Drosera ×Dork's Pink, indicates Drosera callistos × lasiantha, a man-made hybrid that was published in a recent issue of the CPN.

Drosera ×Dork's Pink (Drosera callistos × lasiantha).
A pretty plant with a silly name.
For my money this is one of the prettiest pygmies going. The dew isn't as stunning as usual because I recently sprayed for aphids, but the color is wonderful.

There's also Drosera ×carbarup, a naturally occurring D. occidentalis × platystigma.

Drosera ×carbarup (Drosera occidentalis × platystigma).
These are showing a bit of aphid damage unfortunately.
There are several widespread pygmy hybrids, in fact. I tend to shy away from hybrids as a general rule, so I've yet to acquire most of them. This one is very nice though!

One of my favorite hybrids is another Ivan Snyder creation, Drosera anglica CA × HI.

Drosera anglica CA × HI.
Got extra plantlets to spare too!
This plant mixed the large, robust, but dormancy-requiring California form of D. anglica with the tropical, dormancy-free, but small and fragile Hawai'i form. The result is one of the prettiest plants in my collection. This is one of my absolute favorites.

Finally, if I'm going to include D. anglica CA × HI I have to include Drosera 'Marston Dragon', which is a hybrid of Drosera binata dichotoma "Giant" with D. binata multifida extrema.

Drosera binata 'Marston Dragon'.
That's a lot of plant.
The botanical validity of all those names is in doubt, by the way. But there's no doubt that this is a huge sundew. I need to do something about it.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Some stuff blooming inside

I noticed that my Drosera spiralis is starting another flower stalk.

Drosera spiralis flower stalk.
Check out that wonky leaf too. I don't know why it grew like that.
This is a great plant! I really need to do some root cuttings.

Let's see what else is blooming around the growspaces.

Pinguicula laueana × emarginata flower.
Pinguicula laueana × emarginata flower. Very elegant.
Pinguicula emarginata flower.
Pinguicula emarginata. It's fun to compare with the hybrid flower above.
Drosera binata with flower stalk.
Emerging Drosera binata flower stalk. I think I'll turn this one into cuttings.
Drosera capensis with flower stalk.
Drosera capensis. I received this as a broad leaf form. the leaves aren't that broad, but it's a large, impressive plant.
Of course there are a million Utricularia bisquamata and Utricularia subulata blooms everywhere. It's nice to see everything blooming so nicely.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Introducing Drosera capillaris 'Emerald's Envy'

I've hinted a couple times in the last few weeks that I have a fun story to tell about the plant I've been calling Drosera capillaris (Alabama). It turns out I discovered a rare cultivar right under my nose!

Drosera capillaris 'Emerald's Envy' with flower stalk.
My first flower stalk on this plant in a long time. I need to get some more seed!
It started several months ago when I was browsing the ICPS website's list of registered cultivars. If you're looking for a really nerdy way to spend an hour or two, go spend some time reading cultivar descriptions, it's pretty cool. I came across the description for Drosera 'Emerald's Envy', which was a white-flowered form of D. capillaris that was collected from a population in Florida. It reminded me of my plants.

However, since my plants were labeled as being from Alabama, rather than Florida, I didn't want to assume that this was the cultivar. This all changed when I was over visiting Predatory Plants and noticed that Josh had the same D. capillaris plant (from California Carnivores). He told me that the "Alabama" on the label was a result of misreading the handwritten abbreviation "AL", which was supposed to stand for "Albino" or "alba".

Drosera capillaris 'Emerald's Envy' in a clump.
My favorite picture of this plant before I separated the clump.
I had to investigate further. First I contacted Damon at California Carnivores, who confirmed the story about the labels, adding that he didn't know the exact provenance of the original seeds they got, but that they very well could be from Florida. Next I contacted William Clemens, who registered the cultivar in 2006 (he's active on TerraForums as Joesph Clemens). Based on the picture I sent him and my description of the plants, he felt that my plant was indeed D. 'Emerald's Envy', which he was afraid had gone extinct in the 9 years since he registered the cultivar.

To quote from the cultivar description:
"...the entire leaf petiole and blade exhibit light to medium green coloration, even when grown in strong artificial light or full sunlight...the flowers of Drosera 'Emerald's Envy' are white--a somewhat unusual color (although white-flowered plants are occasionally encountered in the wild)...Drosera 'Emerald's Envy' may be propagated by seed or vegetative means, but no matter how the plant is propagated, in order to retain the name Drosera 'Emerald's Envy', the progeny must exhibit the light green leaf color, white flower color, and maintain the form of the standard, even when grown under conditions of strong light (including full sun)..."
You can read the full article here. Compare that description to the plants above, as well as to these long-arm form D. capillaris I got during the NASC auction.

Drosera capillaris long arm.
These have really settled in and are looking great, btw.
While the long petioles are a big difference, the color is really the striking thing. That red color is much more typical of D. capillaris.

Mr. Clemens was happy that this cultivar is still circulating, and so am I! It's really a lovely plant, and now it's got a cool name to boot. I've sold a few packets of seed over the last year – if you bought one of them I guess it's time to update your labels! Also if you bought a plant from California Carnivores with the label "Drosera capillaris Alabama" that displays the above characteristics you can as well. I think it would be cool if this cultivar could be more widely-recognized. It's easy to grow and propagate, and charming as heck.

Drosera capillaris 'Emerald's Envy'.
Drosera 'Emerald's Envy'.
Now that's a pretty plant.