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
Nepenthes

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.

I put about half the Nepenthes outside every summer. While all the others are wilting at temperatures over 85’F, Bloody Mary is thriving and making pitchers faster than she ever did inside despite days at 100’F/75’F nights

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

Nepenthes Hookeriana

Nepenthes Hookeriana not overly happy with the Houston heat
Nepenthes Hookeriana not overly happy with the Houston heat
~ 5 yrs

~ 4 years
~ 3 years

These started in test tubes I ordered on eBay. They have been extremely easy to grow.

They are named after Joseph Dalton Hooker who discovered them. The first mention of them seems to be around 1848

Originally thought to be a species they are a natural hybrid between N. ampullaria and N. rafflesiana. They are found deeper in the jungles climbing up the trees. Early descriptions disagree on everything from the leaves to the pitchers to the growth habit. The wings and roundness of the pitcher seem to be all anyone agreed about.

I haven’t seen upper pitchers on mine yet, but read that they are longer and without wings.

Common to lowlands of Borneo, Malaysia, Sumatra where they grow in bogs.

High humidity, 60’F-90’F, easier to pitcher than some other Neps. I find they do best in open orchid baskets filled with sphagnum which are placed in a dish in which I maintain 1/2″-1″ of distilled water.