Are there really red darlingtonias out there, or are they only red when they're small seedlings? HOw about plants with red bodies and yellow tops? Are there bronze colored Cobras? Is there a such thing as a giant Darlingtonia that can reach the size of a baseball bat, if not slightly bigger? Are there variants of Darlingtonias with an abnormal amount of windows on them? IS there a huge diversity of "tongue" shapes? HOw about "teeth"-do some darlingtonias have them?
It may shock some of you that the answer to ALL of these questions is YES!
here's a giant plant. One thing I observed is many of these giant plants produce one huge pitcher and that's it for the season-reminds me a lot of S. flava var. rubricorpora:
Here we have some golden plants mixed in with some red contrast-sorry for the blurry pic:
Another golden-ish clump:
This plant was found by an abandoned goldmine way high up in the mountains. The tongue is bright red, and while this plant does display a good amount of red, they can get even redder than this:
Here's a red variant with an extensive amount of windows:
This clone has a really short tongue. Here's an interesting observation: in the wild, many plants had deformed tongues, and I thought it might be genetics. However, it turns out it was an environmental factor because on the same plant, you can find traps with deformed tongues and normal tongues. This clone below might be able to grow a larger tongue than shown below, but who knows:
And while we're on the topic of darlingtonia tongues, if you look carefully, you can see little 'teeth' on this clone:
This was the longest tongue I've ever seen on a Darlingtonia! It's hard to see the scale of things from the picture:
The tongue on this plant looks like a little bow-tie:
and here's a more standard, triangular tongue with some interesting color combinations:
Here's a typical green plant. Ironically, in this population, it was a minority:
And these were just good looking! Windows on this clone is extensive, but not as extreme as some other plants:
Many of the plants in this population looked like this! I love the Gold and red lining contrast:
One portion of the seep had a mixture of mud, gravel, and sand. While the plants grew in this substrate, it wasn't the best-the plants did best near the bottom of the seeps where it leveled out, and lots of dead leaves, sticks, old traps, etc. collected and turned into substrate. Plants in the gravel substrate tend to be very colorful though...
And a little bit of habitat captured in this picture to give you a feel for the environment:
In your opinion, where are the largest populations of Darlingtonia, in Oregon or California? Which state has the greatest variation of Darlingtonias? What is the proximity between the sites you have gone to? I can tell the variation is very wide, but within a site do you see a clump of darlingtonias with certain variation and then within feet another clump with different variation? In the pics one would think they are very well mixed-in between each other. Does darlingtonia have the behavior of clumping like that of Sarracenia?
sorry for the late reply-haven't been on this forum for a while.
That's a great question! I've seen a lot of populations, but not all of them, so the following observatins are based on what I've observed thus far. The largest populations in terms of numbers that I've seen are in Northern California, especially high up in the siskiyou mountains. Many of the times I've tried to go up there, Access to these sites were limited due to heavy snowfall. I tried in the summer and fall, and both times, it was still snowed in! Interestingly, while these sites are extremely huge, they don't appear to be very genetically diverse in comparison to the sites photographed above, for example.
In one given location, you can typically find several different seeps, and each seep has a unique genetic distribution. In some seeps, the plants all look the same. In others, you'll find a dark red plant right next to an ordinary green plant. Of course, you can also find huge clumps that are likely the same clone, but it's a little different than Sarracenias since Darlingtonias send out "runners" aka Stolons just like strawberries. This allows one clone to spread itself further away from the "mother plant" and colonize new territory.
The health of a population is usually measured by the number of new seedings you can find. The good news about Darlingtonia is that at every site I've visited, populations were either expanding or are holding strong. 16 years ago, I saw one site in a ditch that had maybe 10 plants.
When I visited the same ditch a few years ago, it was packed to the brim with hundreds of plants-it was shocking! it seems in this case, Darlingtonia utilized asexual reproduction moreso than sexual, although this is just speculation. I say this because once darlingtonia reach a certain size, they can grow very fast, but as a seedling, they take FOREVER to do anything. The main limitation to Darlingtonias in the wild is suitable habitat. If it's moist all year round and low in nutrients, Darlintonia typically colonizes every last square inch of space!
Hello meizwang Thanks for this very interesting Post! I was asking once in one of the forums about differences in growth Patterns, especially in sizes of the heads. So i got some answers to it. Great pics! cheers Urs www.nepenthes.ch