Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Misidentified plants are basically inevitable

This weekend my friend Amir came over to see my collection. He was quite taken with the plant I've been referring to as Byblis liniflora, in part because it's a lovely plant, but also because he grows B. liniflora and mine looked nothing like his.

Byblis rorida.
What a lovely plant. So delicate!
Later that evening he sent me some texts suggesting – very convincingly – that I was actually growing Byblis rorida. From growth habit to color to flower shape, it seems pretty clear that I had gotten my seeds with an incorrect ID. Luckily B. rorida isn't really self-fertile (like B. liniflora), or I might have distributed seed incorrectly as well.

I also recently flowered a plant that I've known for a couple years as Pinguicula rotundiflora × hemiepiphytica. There have been some stirrings lately that this is probably an incorrect ID, and this flower pretty much confirms it for me.

Pinguicula laueana × emarginata flower.
This flower is very clear in my mind.
The argument is that this plant is actually Pinguicula laueana × emarginata, and this flower seals the deal. There's no hint of Pinguicula rotundiflora anywhere in this plant, and this flower both looks intermediate to Pinguicula laueana and Pinguicula emarginata, and a great deal like the ping I have that came identified as a hybrid of such. It's good to know I guess!

In that same pot I placed a leaf I received as the same hybrid. It is clearly not.

Unknown Pinguicula.
Call it Pinguicula unknownii.
I don't know what it is, so I assume it's a Pinguicula moranensis (hah). I basically need to flower this plant to have any idea what it is, and even then a diagnosis is going to be tough. I'll probably give this one away to someone who doesn't know about carnivorous plants and won't care about the ID.

How does stuff like this happen? Partly because plant IDs are mostly a loooooong game of telephone, especially for plants that primarily circulate in the hobby through trading, rather than by being produced in nurseries. Very few hobbyists actually have the training to go read a species description, analyze some herbarium specimens, and make an independent ID. Changing labels can be very risky, since sometimes plants can look very different in different conditions. Generally I think people should keep the tags they received unless they're very very confident in changing them. That can just introduce more problems into people's labels.

Some of you who have read the blog may remember when I "rediscovered" a cultivar called Drosera capillaris 'Emerald's Envy'. It's one of my favorite plants!

Drosera 'Emerald's Envy'.
It's so pretty and jewel-like. What a nice plant!
I did a lot of work before I felt comfortable changing the labels. I tracked down a couple different rumors I'd heard, and even reached out to the person who wrote the cultivar and tried to trace my plants to him (I couldn't quite draw the line all the way, but he felt that my plants matched the ones he wrote up years ago). I'm glad I did the work, because it's nice having a cultivar designation to go along with a nice plant.

I know I'm getting a bit crazy when I'm considering buying monographs to see if I can independently key out difficult species in my cultivation. I guess that's the way these things end up.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mostly about flowering

This is what comes of letting your Drosera burmannii flower without concomitant feeding.

Drosera burmannii "Hann River".
This is the "Hann River" form, incidentally.
They're quite fallen off from where they were even in March. I think this phenomenon is why people insist that D. burmannii is an annual even though it demonstrably is not – the effort required to not let it bloom itself to death is tiresome, so it ends up dying. I've got to admire its drive to reproduce I guess.

What it needs to do is what this Drosera scorpioides has done and catch some serious prey.

Drosera scorpioides.
Look at this big shiny fly!
Incidentally, this species has never flowered for me. I love seeing small plants catch large prey though, it's always delightful.

This Pinguicula gypsicola × moctezumae has a really nice color to it.

Pinguicula gypsicola × moctezumae.
So pink and pretty!
This pot is really a mess. You can't really tell in the picture, but there are like 6 species and 3 genera in here. Oof.

I love the look of this flower stalk on Pinguicula rotundiflora × hemiepiphytica.

Pinguicula rotundiflora × hemiepiphytica.
This is much too cute.
New ping flowers always look so bashful. Never flowered this one before, so I'm excited!

Nearby my Drosera aliciae is not doing well.

Drosera aliciae.
Just chill out man.
This is one of my first carnivores, and it's been trying in vain to get off a flower stalk for months and months. They all end up aborting, and the plant looks pretty bad now. I can't figure out why it doesn't just chill out about the whole thing. Oh well.

My first Utricularia praelonga flower petal has dropped and it looks pretty cool.

Utricularia praelonga petal.
It's a pretty good-sized flower for a utric.
This probably happened an hour or two before I took this picture, since it's still very fresh and well-shaped. I like how utric flowers just drop as a mass, it's very funny. I'm really getting into Utricularia lately, which is like the most niche part of an already niche hobby. But check out this flower stalk!

Utricularia praelonga flower stalk.
Growing plants is so much fun.
It's almost 18 inches high, and has these bright yellow flowers. That's pretty cool man! I think so at least.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Stuff keeps growing

So, when I'm trying to talk people into growing carnivorous plants, I usually tell them something like this:
Carnivorous plants aren't very hard to grow. The things that kill them kill them right away. But if you spend just a little time setting up a system for them to grow in, they need almost no maintenance at all.
It's really fortunate for me lately that that is true, since I've not been giving my plants much maintenance/attention in the last couple weeks, and by god, they keep growing. Take Utricularia praelonga. Since I all-too-recently threatened it, it's opened not one, but three flowers.

Utricularia praelonga flowers in bloom.
Look at this flower stalk! It's getting quite tall.
Wowee! This is really quite cool. They're like larger, somewhat more interesting Utricularia subulata flowers. Here's a closeup:

Utricularia praelonga flower blooming.
A lovely flower after all.
The ruffles on the "labium" (it's not a labium, but I don't know how else to refer to the bottom petal on a non-orchid zygomorphic flower) are really cool, and the whole flower faces upward in a neat way. Quite large too, over a centimeter in diameter. I'm very proud of this plant!

I've also got a nice little bloom spray on my Utricularia babui.

Utricularia babui flowers.
I like the shape a lot, it's bulbous in the middle.
I'd thought that this plant was supposed to be bluish, but my Utricularia gramnifolia is much more blue, and these are distinctly purple. Therefore, either my idea was wrong (possible), one or both of the aforementioned plants are mislabeled (sadly common), or the taxonomy and description of these taxa are a mess and need to be sorted out (very likely). In any case, I quite like this plant – I rarely see this many flower stalks on fresh utric plug. Usually they wait until the pot has been more widely colonized to bloom in force.

My Pinguicula rotundiflora × hemiephiphytica has a flower bud.

Pinguicula rotundiflora × hemiepiphytica bud.
I love new ping flowers.
I've heard a bit of back-and-forth about whether this hybrid actually exists, or is just a labeling mistake. I think this flower will help me make a determination for myself at least. Both of the parent species have pretty distinctive flowers, and I feel like I should be able to tell if this plant is of their ilk or not. I guess we'll see in time!

Oh yeah, I started some Drosera esmereldae seeds.

Drosera esmereldae seeds.
Just some moss you know.
There's not actually anything to look at, but it's nice to have the blog here as a record of propagation attempts. I hope these take – this is a species I've wanted for a while.

Here's a problem: I've got three species in this pot, which I knew at the time was a bad idea.

Pinguicula moranensis, Drosera occidentalis, and Drosera zigzagia.
This is what I get for not preparing enough soil.
The "dead" plant is Drosera zigzagia, which I should take out of the tray for its dormancy. The ping up front is a nice Pinguicula moranensis start that I can just move to another pot. The problem is those two nubs on the left. Those are Drosera occidentalis plants that I accidentally broke from their roots while harvesting gemmae. They're 100% alive (just dormant), which gives the lie to the idea that pygmies can't handle root damage. The problem is that I don't want to make this pot go dry and risk killing them now. I might just dig out that section of pot and replant it. We'll see.

Speaking of pygmies, my Drosera grievei seems to not have reverted from its crestate state.

Crested Drosera grievei pygmy sundew.
Cresting forms are always fun.
That's pretty cool really. None of the gemmae from this plant made crestate plants, but that's okay, I like this one. My pygmies are looking pretty so-so this year though (I should make a post about that). I'll have to make fresh pots this year.

Finally, to end on a pretty note, my Drosera capensis wide-leaf form is really looking nice.

Drosera capensis wide leaf form.
This is just a really good plant.
So far I'm really pleased with this acquisition. The real question will be if the seed offspring maintain the wide leaves. If not, I'm still happy with this one at least. So dewy!