Darlingtonia - Carnivorous Plants - How to care for and cultivate your Darlingtonia
The Darlingtonia are carnivorous plants that capture their prey through mechanisms ofASCIDES OR SIMILAR deriving from the modification of some leaves.
The flap of the modified leaves loses, in whole or in part, its shape to become a cup, a wineskin, a tube, etc. which take on the function of capturing small animal prey.
The preys are attracted in various ways (with colors, with nectar, etc.) and remain trapped in the ascidian. At that point, devices are activated to dissolve them and absorb the elements that derive from them.
Generally, the ascidia are filled with water and the device that determines the death and decomposition of the prey is of secondary importance (a typical example is the Sarracenia and the Darlingtonia) as very often both the death and the decomposition of the prey takes place. work of the bacterial microflora normally present in these structures and not thanks to enzymes secreted by the plant but due to the secretion of acids by the acid-resistent bacteria they contain.
In typical carnivorous plants there is no symbiosis with bacteria and the digestion of the prey, which is always extracellular, occurs thanks to the secretion of animal proteolytic enzymes (pepsins, trypsins) associated mostly with the secretion of acids (formic acid) .
In some carnivorous plants the secretion of acids and enzymes is continuous while in others the secretion occurs only under the stimulus of the presence of the prey.
Among the genera and species that we find in this group we have the genus DARLINGTONIA (family Sarraceniaceae)native to the Americas and typical of peaty and humid areas.
The genus includes only one species la Darlingtonia californica.
It is also called cobra plantfor the particular shape assumed by the modified leaves of the ascidian.
There Darlingtonia it has no normal leaves but only leaves modified to ascidium.
How to care for carnivorous plants in winter
Carnivorous plants are plants herbaceous that they feed on insects and small arthropods. The reason for this behavior is due to the adaptation to the hostile environments in which they develop such as swamps or rocks. These are poor in nitrogen and other nutrients for which carnivorous plants derive them from animal proteins. This type of plants, in most cases, are perennial. Theirs root system it is underdeveloped unlike the leaves where the traps to capture insects reside. The latter can be adhesive, trap and ascidium. To know how to cure carnivorous plants in winter you have to consider the diversity of species and their origin. For some carnivorous plants, in fact, the winter rest, for others not. So let's see how to behave.
The plant is no more than 10 cm tall and has its traps in the final area of its hinged leaves, equipped with perceptive bristles capable of attracting insects. These bristles, if touched repeatedly, are able to snap the leaves and make them close, imprisoning the insects. Also in this case the captured insect will be transformed into nitrogen-rich nourishment for the plant. Once the process is complete, the Dionaea muscipula will reopen the trap to hunt for prey. In summer the plant has full activity, managing to catch many flies and other types of flying insects.
Sarracenia purpurea can be considered the most effective of all carnivorous plants, having long leaves that form a formed funnel. It can reach up to seventy centimeters in length and some varieties have a colored hood, capable of attracting insects. In fact, it has a narcotic substance that stuns them, making them fall into the funnel and drowning them in a liquid inside it. It can be grown quite easily and its flowers are very showy, especially in the spring season.
Remember the cute little cookie snails have when they hold the cornets all stretched out? Here, now imagine the Drosera: it looks like a snail only that it has many cornets! It is not only aesthetically beautiful but also highly sought after.
Belonging to the Drosera family, Rosolida is an eccentric and colorful carnivorous plant: red and yellow master. It has tentacles that grab the insect when it gets trapped in a special sticky substance.
Darlingtonia Californica, Propagation
There Darligtonia californica it is a rather difficult carnivorous plant to grow therefore not recommended for beginners. Before dealing with one Darlingtonia californica it would be better to start doing some practice in the cultivation of carnivorous plants. perhaps with simpler species to manage.
The propagation of the Darlingtonia californica it can come from seed, stolon or cutting.
For the seed propagation it is recommended to use exclusively fresh seeds, to be planted in the same soil composition used for adult plants. Many, before planting them, use to keep the seeds in one glass of water fresh. When these fall to the bottom, it means they are ready to be planted on the ground.
There propagation by stolon it is the most used method because it is simpler and faster. When the new sprout reaches a third of the size of the mother can be separated and repotted.
There propagation from cuttings it can take place by placing a whole ascidium in live sphagnum, kept constantly humid.
Plants with winter rest
Plants that need winter rest should be kept outdoors or, if not possible, indoors but in an environment without heating but bright and airy. This type of plant needs the cold. In winter they do not require a lot of water and should therefore only be moistened. Always check for mold in pots, which could be caused by moisture. Among the plants that require a period of rest we find the temperate Drosera, the subtropical Drosera, the Pinguicula, the Darlingtonia, the Sarracenia, the Dionaea.
The Byblis is a really pretty little plant. Besides the special ability to trap insects thanks to the secretion of a sticky liquid, this species also gives a beautiful indigo or violet bloom. It is ideal for outdoor cultivation!
The Drosophyllum, always to remain on the theme of particular forms, recalls a golden section. It could in fact look like a shell or a spiral folded in on itself. Easy to replicate, it ranks as one of the best carnivorous garden plants.