Nepenthes Kat Lester

I find this is much like a Mirabilis, that’s almost certainly in its parentage. Keep it warm, not too much light, and slowly adapt it to the windowsill. They seem to need high humidity while they are young. Pitchers vary from green to red on the same plant. It sends up lots of basil shoots and prefers hanging to climbing. There are often a dozen pitchers on the plant.

Lee’s Botanicals cultivated this plant, I think they may be the only source. I’ve not been able to find any other mention of it.

Nepenthes Truncata

Test tube babies

Nepenthes Truncata at PetFlyTrap.com

Nepenthes truncata gets its name from the square ending of the leaf before the pitcher. It is native to all of the Philippines where it grows in the hilly areas close to sea level. Pitchers can reach 16″ long. A botanical garden in France recorded it eating a mouse. I’m told it loves to eat wasps.

I had been growing it under a fluorescent light and on a windowsill. It’s now in a very bright south western window and it appears to love the sun much more than my other Nepenthes. A grower in Italy reports it can handle highland temps, I’m not sure I’d risk trying it.

The first reference to it I could find was in the 1911 Pennsylvania Botanical Society meeting notes.

I found mine from a seller of test tube plants on eBay.

Nepenthes Mirabilis var Globosa aka Nepenthes Viking

I slaughtered several of these before I figured them out. I find they need a lot of humidity to start. It’s best to keep them in a terrarium while they are small and ever so slowly adapt them to life on a windowsill.

I find they like less light than my other Nepenthes. They grow in a window that gets filtered morning light with a fluorescent lamp making up for the small amount of sunlight.

Pitchers are green to red, on the same plant, round with wings and grow on very long tendrils. Often there are a dozen or more pitchers. I’m not sure how large they will get, I’ve not seen photos of any more than 3″ or so in size.

The plants tend to be busy, sending up many basil shoots. They are hanging rather than climbing Nepenthes.

Mirabilis is a lowland plant, common to south east Asia. It has the widest know distribution of any of the Nepenthes. Mirabilis Var Globosa is only native to one island and the Thai mainland. There are dozens of natural hybrids. The habitat was wiped out in the 2004 tsunami. Plants are being cloned in labs in an attempt to re-establish the population.

Sarracenia psittacina aka Parrot pitcher plant

This is a plant I didn’t much like a first, but it has a way of growing on you. The twisted shape and bright red add interest to dish gardens.

First discovered in the mid 1700s, it’s not recorded in detail until ~1800. It is a US carnivorous pitcher plant that grows along the top of the Gulf Coast. It is very similar to the Darlingtonia californica, luring insects with nectar then using a small entrance to trap insects in a long tube. There are downward pointing hairs to keep the insect in should it manage to find the the exit. Eventually the insects drown in the water in the bottom, narrow section of the pitcher.

This is the only known ‘lobster pot’ mechanism for insect capture in carnivorous plants. It’s thought that this allows them to catch prey whether the pitchers are above or below the water.

It grows in the bogs and swamps of pine forests, often submerged, the leaves grow horizontally, so keep it wet and give it lots of light. ( early leaves may grow upright, later leaves getting more horizontal until they are flat so use a wide pot )

There is a moth, Exyra that lives inside the pitcher, feeding on the nectar and not getting eaten.

Does not go dormant in the winter, benefits from occasional habitat fires.

More info:
Sarracenia psittacina, at Botany.org

Nepethes Mata Hari

This was an eBay purchase, it’s a cultivar between Splendiana x ventricosa created by Manny Herrera. It’s the first Nepenthes I had that flowered. I believe they are known to flower often.

I grow it in a window, in an open orchid pot that’s filled with sphagnum. I had it in an east window last year. This winter it’s in a full afternoon sun window and it seems happier. It may not like it so much come summer? I keep a half inch to an inch of distilled water in the dish the pot is sitting in.

It took a little while to settle in, putting out flowers rather than pitchers the first summer, then didn’t do much until a few months ago. Now it’s putting out leaves and pitchering regularly.

It looks like it’s going to be a climber rather than bushy. The pitchers are always full of bugs, the climbers seem to be better at attracting prey than the bushier Nepenthes.

Nepenthes Bloody Mary aka Lady Luck

Bloody Mary is a horticultural cross between Red Nep. Ampullaria and Red N.Ventricosa. It is more commonly sold now in Bio-Domes as Lady Luck, but I prefer the old name.

I find it stays bushier than most Nepenthes, both of mine have several basil shoots. It’s the only one I have the flat out refuses to put out pitchers all winter. It does make up for it in the summer.

Nepenthes want distilled or at least very soft water, no fertilizers. These are swamp plants so I keep 1/2″ – 1″ of water in the bottom. They seem happiest in sphagnum moss. I find they like the orchid baskets best. I think the air helps keep them from getting too soggy.

I have it in a south west window, it seems to like more light than my other Nepenthes.

Sedate a Venus FlyTrap, and It Seems to Lose Consciousness

1 yr old Venus FlyTrap Seedlings

Mimosa leaves, pea tendrils, Venus flytraps and sundew traps all lost both their autonomous and touch-induced movements after exposure to anaesthetics. In Venus flytrap, this was shown to be due to the loss of action potentials under diethyl ether anaesthesia. The same concentration of diethyl ether immobilized pea tendrils. Anaesthetics also impeded seed germination and chlorophyll accumulation in cress seedlings. Endocytic vesicle recycling and reactive oxygen species (ROS) balance, as observed in intact Arabidopsis root apex cells, were also affected by all anaesthetics tested.

Anaesthetics stop diverse plant organ movements, affect endocytic vesicle recycling and ROS homeostasis, and block action potentials in Venus flytraps