Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pygmy sundew roundup, April 2015

It's been a while since I did a pygmy roundup, and lots has been going on, so I decided to check in on the cutest little plants in the collection.

Let's start at the beginning, with my Drosera scorpioides.

Drosera scorpioides.
D. scorpioides is common, but that's mostly because it's a fantastic plant.
Drosera scorpioides.
Poor little guys.
The first photo is my main pot from the first pygmies I ever had, some D. scorpioides I started from gemmae last year. The consensus is that the black mounds are earthworm castings. Also I didn't harvest the gemmae from these guys because I just had way too much D. scorpioides gemmae this year. Hope it doesn't affect their growth too much. The second photo is the pot I got in the raffle back at the Spring BACPS meeting in 2014. They got hit hard with aphids, and are still in the process of recovery, alas.

 Now let's see what's up with the pygmies I got from Brie in the 2014 NASC auction: Drosera helodes, Drosera dichrosepala, Drosera pygmaea, and Drosera allantostigma.

Drosera helodes.
Later in the season the white color really comes out on these.
Drosera dichrosepala, Drosera pygmaea, Drosera allantostigma.
These guys just keep trucking along in their tiny pots.
These are all doing pretty well, except for the D. pygmaea, which is only barely hanging on. For some reason D. pygmaea does not do well in my conditions, which is strange since it's supposed to be a very easy pygmy. The D. allangostigma, as you can see, is clumping like crazy from the gemmae. Looks great.

I've also got several pygmies I purchased from California Carnivores: Drosera callistos, Drosera enodes, and Drosera lasiantha.

Drosera callistos.
I can't wait until next winter when I get Christmas wreaths again.
Drosera enodes.
I didn't get to harvest any gemmae this season, darn.
Drosera lasiantha.
I keep waiting for these to take off.
D. callistos looks fantastic (it's one of my favorite pygmies). A couple of the D. enodes didn't survive gemmae season, but the others are still lovely. For some reason the D. lasiantha has not been thriving. It's really just been sitting around not growing much. I can't really figure why. I've fed it a couple times but it hasn't seemed to make much difference.

This is a pot of D. allantostigma I started from gemmae from Brie's smaller pot.

Drosera allantostigma.
They look like little gems.
There's not too much to say other than that D. allantostigma is a beautiful plant.

Finally let's get into the plants I started from gemmae myself this last winter. Most of these I purchased from Drosera Gemmae, which is the source for pygmy sundew gemmae in the States. This first tray contains D. allantostigma, D. helodes, Drosera nitidula, Drosera leucostigma, Drosera oreopodion, and Drosera spilos. The first two species listed were sown from gemmae from my own plants, while the other four were from a late-season order with Drosera Gemmae.

Drosera allantostigma, Drosera helodes, Drosera nitidula.
D. helodes doesn't show very well against the sand.
Drosera leucostigma, Drosera oreopodion.
I'm hoping they'll get bigger and easier to see.
Drosera spilos.
Poor D. spilos.
As you can see, the D. spilos reached a certain size and then crashed. I have no idea why. The D. allantostigma I harvested from my first, prized D. allantostigma, which – alas – didn't survive gemmae season.

Finally, let's get to the Winter Batch, which was my big order of pygmy sundew gemmae right in the middle of the season. This first picture is (clockwise from top left) Drosera palacea, Drosera leucoblasta, Drosera omissa, Drosera silvicola, Drosera pulchella, and Drosera barbigera.

Drosera palacea, Drosera leucoblasta, Drosera omissa, Drosera silvicola, Drosera pulchella, and Drosera barbigera
This is a fine-looking group of pygmies.
Of this group D. omissa is easily the most vigorous, but I really like the shape of D. barbigera – it looks like a tiny firework. D. palacea has great color and a nice, neat little shape.

On the other side of the tray is 8 more species/hybrids, which I will list in the photo captions to make it a bit clearer.

Drosera grievei, Drosera × Carbarup, Drosera roseana, Drosera pygmaea
The leftmost four pygmy pots, clockwise from top-left: Drosera grievei (with one D. omissa hitchhiker), Drosera × Carbarup, Drosera roseana, Drosera pygmaea.
Drosera patens, Drosera sargentii, Drosera × Dork's Pink, Drosera occidentalis.
The rightmost four pots, clockwise from top-left: Drosera patens, Drosera sargentii, Drosera × Dork's Pink, Drosera occidentalis.
My D. pygmaea were looking really good for a while, but it seems they've gotten hit with the aphids. I hate aphids. D. sargentii has a really unique shape and profile, which I've really come to like. And D. × Dork's Pink is just a beautiful plant.

It looks like my D. occidentalis failed entirely, but that's not quite true – there is a bit of life in that pot.

Drosera occidentalis.
It's hiding in there.
You may need to click the picture to see it, but there's a sundew in there. I don't know how well it will survive into next year, but at least I can hold out hope for more gemmae someday.

So that's the spread of my species/hybrid-specific pots. There is one very special pot though – the Pygmy Garden.

Pygmy Garden.
Looking like a proper garden now.
It's filling in. I'm excited.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Aphids: The Aftermath

As I've mentioned a few times in the past, I've had problems with aphids lately. I don't know where they came from, but come they did, first attacking my Drosera anglica CA × HI, then my Drosera aliciae, and then to the rest of my collection. I ended up attacking them with Take Down Garden Spray, which is Pyrethrin and canola oil. Damon over at California Carnivores recommended Take Down, and after a month of repeated applications I think I've got the aphids on the retreat.

That's not without them taking their toll. Apparently one thing that aphids can do is make a plant just divide its growth point like crazy. This D. aliciae is the most dramatic example of the phenomenon. When the aphids struck it was only one plant. Now...

Drosera aliciae with multiple growth points.
Now that's one, two, three...
Drosera aliciae with multiple growth points.
Four, five...six? growth points. Seven?
I think there are seven plants there now? Or at least growth points. I don't really know. I suppose someday I might separate them out, but for now I kind of like how it looks.

The D. anglica CA × HI, which was hit much harder, also split.

Drosera anglica with aphid damage.
This pot is a mess.
It's a bit harder to see, since there are some Drosera ultramafica × spatulata in there, and maybe a couple Drosera burmannii. It's a big mess in the growth point though.

My D. burmannii also had some aphids, but since D. burmannii don't divide they just got to suffer.

Drosera burmannii with aphid damage.
My poor D. burmannii are such troopers.
I'm not sure, but I think I may have noticed some caterpillar droppings in there too. Poor D. burmannii, just getting the one-two punch.

I was very very annoyed to see aphids on my Utricularia longifolia flower stalk. Either because of the aphids, or because of the repeated applications of Take Down, a few of the buds didn't develop, and the older ones faded earlier than I had expected.

Utricularia longifolia flowers with aphid damage.
I'm still very happy to have these flowers.
At least they're gone now. I think. The new flowers still look great.

Whenever I talk about pests in my collection I like to also talk about bugs getting eaten. This is a fly that got trapped by my Dionaea 'B-52' just as my roommate and my dad were out looking at my Sarracenia with me.

Dionaea 'B-52' with fly.
It was a whole mini-drama.
This photo is very ghoulish – the fly is reaching its front legs out in a (futile) attempt to escape.

Before I started growing carnivores I was never the sort of kid to, say, burn an ant hill with a magnifying glass, or pull the wings off of moths. I catch spiders in my house and put them outside instead of smashing them. Carnivorous plants, though, have a certain elegant brutality that allows me to appreciate their particular style of minor violence. Just look that that Dionaea photo. It's grim.

. . .

Btw one of my Byblis liniflora is forming a stem.

Byblis liniflora forming stalk.
Now I'm becoming enamored of Byblis. This could be a problem.
Nice!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

This post is just for sundews

Man, it's been feeling like Sarracenia Etc. around here. I must plead circumstance – first of all, I've got a lot of room for new Sarracenia and very little for new Drosera. It's also spring, so all the pitchers are waking up. And finally I keep battling the aphids in my indoor collection. But there's lots going on still, so let's get back to basics and look at some sundews.

First up, the season is over for my two tuberous species, Drosera ramellosa and Drosera rupicola.

Dormant Drosera ramellosa and Drosera rupicola.
This spot is now occupied by my new Drosera slackii.
They definitely went dormant earlier than expected. Now I've set them to dry out, after which I might see what the situation with the tubers is. At the very least I'm going to remove that horrible cap of moss on the pot and replace it with a layer of sand.

My other summer-dormant sundew, Drosera cistiflora, is still very much awake, and enjoying having been recently fed.

Drosera cistiflora.
Looks like a feast.
 It hasn't formed a stem yet this year, and considering how late we are in the season I doubt that it will. Still, I'm glad that it's apparently so healthy. This one will almost certainly come back next season.

One of my smaller Drosera filiformis plants has woken up.

Drosera filiformis.
Always propagate. It's like insurance.
This is very satisfying, since the one that was on its way a couple months ago is now, beyond much doubt, definitely dead.

Apparently dead Drosera filiformis.
The question now is: do I keep waiting?
Maybe the shock of being moved up closer to the lights was just too much for it. I'll let the one that's still alive get a bit bigger before the move, I guess.

The first of my Drosera intermedia 'Cuba' seems to be waking up as well.

Drosera intermedia 'Cuba' ending its dormancy.
Wake up little guy.
This is the only plant among the 3 pots of D. 'Cuba' that seems to be waking, though the others are definitely still alive. We'll see.

Another Drosera hamiltonii has apparently sprouted from the roots.

Drosera hamiltonii.
I didn't expect to see these plants start offsetting.
This was sort of a surprise, since this species has always seemed only barely satisfied in my conditions. I guess it can't be so bad.

The two Drosera anglica CA × HI plantlets from the Summer Batch that I thought had died have apparently come back.

Drosera anglica CA × HI.
Propagation can surprise you.
I've fed them, so hopefully in a month or two we'll have some more of this excellent plant available.

Finally, the Drosera indica situation is still completely out of control.

Drosera indica seedlings.
This is too many plants.
I'm in the process of hardening these guys off. What I'll do after that is anyone's guess.

Feels good to get back to sundews! The aphids seem to be in retreat, so hopefully I'll be able to get back to normal sooner rather than later.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Last week of the NASC benefit auction

Every year the online carnivorous plant forum TerraForums hosts a benefit auction for the North American Sarracenia Conservancy. The NASC is really cool – they restore habitat, perform controlled burns, and organize ex situ conservation to maintain genetic diversity (and in the hopes that sites may be restored and repopulated in the future).

During the auction people put plants up for bidding, and the winning bid is payed to the NASC, though the person donating the plant usually receives money from the winning bidder for shipping. Last year I spent a lot of money during the auction! This year I'm planning on spending somewhat less, but I'm also able to donate a lot more. The following are all plants or seeds you could win from yours truly.

Plants

Drosera capenis red form.
Drosera capensis red form offset.
Drosera 'Marston Dragon'.
Two Drosera 'Marston Dragon' plants.
Pinguicula rotundiflora × hemiepiphytica.
Pinguicula rotundiflora × hemiepiphytica.
Pinguicula esseriana.
Pinguicula esseriana.
Pinguicula 'Pirouette'.
Pinguicula 'Pirouette' (plantlets to the right of the mother plant).

Seeds

Drosera anglica CA × HI.
Drosera anglica CA × HI.
Drosera intermedia 'Cuba'.
Drosera intermedia 'Cuba'.
Drosera burmannii (Humpty Doo, NT, Australia).
Drosera burmannii (Humpty Doo, NT, Australia).
Most of the items can only be shipped within the US, but you don't need to be a TF member to bid. Anyone can bid as a guest, provided you leave an email address so you can be contacted if you win an auction. Go forth and bid! There are lots of rare/uncommon plants available, and it's for a good cause.

Expect an update on my winning bids in the next few weeks, hahahah.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ch'ien Lee at California Carnivores

Yesterday was a big day – the much-acclaimed wildlife photographer and Nepenthes authority Ch'ien Lee gave a presentation at California Carnivores.

Ch'ien Lee at California Carnivores.
Ch'ien Lee at the beginning of his talk.
Ch'ien is an amazing photographer (seriously, go check out his website) and has traveled throughout the remotest parts of Indonesia, Malaysia, New Guinea, and the Philippines. I hope it's not another 6 years before he comes back to the States! His presentation wasn't just pretty pictures either – there were lessons on geography, plate tectonics, and the history of science, along with great little vignettes about everything from orangutans to Cordyceps fungi, all with photo illustrations (of course).

Before and after the presentation, I wandered around California Carnivores, saying hi to the Carnivore Girl and others, and checking out all the sweet plants.

Bromeliad display at California Carnivores.
Sweet bromeliad display.
Sarracenia 'Deep Throat'
Huge Sarracenia 'Deep Throat' – the pitcher mouth was as wide as my fist.
Sarracenia flava.
I was very tempted by this Sarracenia flava with the exaggerated point on its lid.
Damon and Daniela also gave Maria and I a peek at all the new weird flytraps Damon got from Europe last year and which they're starting to put into production.

Dionaea 'Sunrise'
This is Dionaea 'Sunrise'.
Dionaea 'Werewolf'
Dionaea 'Werewolf', a tissue culture mutant.
Dionaea "Mega Traps"
This Dionaea "Mega Traps" was more beautiful than weird.
I wasn't able to buy as many plants as I had planned (I've spent a lot of money getting some camping gear lately), but I did come away with two very cool acquisitions. First, they finally managed to find me a Drosera slackii.

Drosera slackii.
Finally! Can't wait to grow/propagate this guy.
I'd been trying to buy a D. slackii from California Carnivores for the better part of a year, but somehow they never got around to repotting their leaf cuttings. Then they found this beautiful plant somewhere in the back. It's great!

I also picked up this Sarracenia hybrid, because, well, it looked sort of dumb.

Sarracenia purpurea ssp. venosa var. burkii × (×wrigleyana × leucophylla).
I'll need to find a succinct way to refer to this plant.
This is Sarracenia purpurea ssp. venosa var. burkii × (×wrigleyana × leucophylla). When I showed it to my roommate, he laughed out loud. I can't wait to grow this out more to see if the pitchers stay this silly. I really hope so.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Storm vs. Sarracenia

My Sarracenia are very much at the mercy of the elements. My growing area is not really protected from anything – luckily for the plants, the San Francisco Bay Area has a very mild climate. It almost never freezes, and the hottest days are rarely much higher than 90 degrees F (32 C). However, the winds around here can be fairly strong, and when we get one of our rare storms they can get very strong. This can be bad news for Sarracenia, depending on the species/cultivar.

This Sarracenia flava var. cuprea probably suffered the most damage, having produced, as it did, a very tall, skinny pitcher.

Sarracenia flava var. cuprea all bent over.
S. flava var. cuprea got that lean.
It's not broken, but it doesn't want to stand up again. The flower is also alive, just all bent over.

The flower on my Sarracenia alata "red throat" was, alas, less fortunate.

Broken Sarracenia alata flower.
Poor broken S. alata flower.
Of course, seeing as I'm not doing any sort of crosses this year I'm not all that concerned with the disposition of the flowers.

My Sarracenia 'Abandoned Hope' faces a peculiar problem. Because I haven't potted it into something larger (it's still in the 4-inch pot from California Carnivores) it doesn't have a very heavy base. Combine that with large, sail-like pitchers, and even if the pitcher tubes don't break it keeps falling over (see the first picture in this post). I had to reposition it in the corner.

Sarracenia 'Abandoned Hope'.
The color continues to deepen on this plant.
Should be safe there.

I also had some leaning in my large Sarracenia oreophila and in the Sarracenia ×moorei, but I think that was mostly due to excess water buildup. I shook the water out and both of those plants seem fine.

My good old Sarracenia flava var. maxima proves that the pitcher lid is good for something. The intact pitcher had very little water buildup, while the pitchers with damaged or totally removed lids were filled almost to the top.

Sarracenia flava var. maxima.
I love looking down the pitcher tubes.
Luckily this plant, while sufficiently tall to be elegant, is also sufficiently stocky to be strong. It really is an excellent clone.

I also got a few more gallons of rainwater out of this storm, so there's that at least.