Carniflora News, October 2015

Full download: Carniflora News, October 2015

Meetings in September – November 2015 to be held at the BURWOOD COMMUNITY HUB

Renovations of the Woodstock Community Centre have started. Meetings for September, October and November will be held at the RALSTON ROOM, Burwood Library and Community Hub, 2 Conder Street, Burwood (3 blocks West of Burwood Station: on the corner of Railway Parade and Conder Street). Details of this venue are available at



Summary of the September meeting
The September meeting was the first to be held in the new venue. After learning the layout of the complex all agreed that the venue is excellent. The main events for the meeting were the ‘Plant of the Month competition’ and the Photo Competition.

The feature plant group for the month was Nepenthes.

Several Nepenthes plants were brought in for the ‘Plant of the month’ competition: Nepenthes maxima x talangensis, Nepenthes truncata, N. ventricosa x ovata, N. (ventricosa x sibuyanesnsis) x trusmadiensis (left), and N. ventricosa x tobaica ‘Red’.

A pot of Sarracenia leucophylla emerging from dormancy with a mass of Pinguicula primuliflora plants in flower was also entered in the completion. The winner was the plant of N. maxima x talangensis (see page 7).

Photo competition results.

Three people submitted photos for the competition: Greg Bourke, Robert Gibson and Greg Lvoff.

A total of 232 photos were provided which were projected onto a wall of the venue with discussion from all present on which photos were to be short-listed for use in the proposed 2016 calendar.

Some photos could have been considered under two or more categories, but in this instance were considered under one. More than one photo could be short-listed for any category.

The results are summarised below with a few of the images presented here (please view PDF) and on the blog site:

Carnivorous plant (including hybrids) by genus:
Aldrovanda (RG); Byblis (None), Cephalotus (RG), Darlingtonia (RG), Dionaea (RG), Drosera (RG), Drosophyllum (None), Genlisea (RG), Heliamphora (RG), Nepenthes (RG), Pinguicula (RG), Sarracenia (RG), Utricularia (RG);

Best macro photo
(GB – Pygmy Drosera);

Carnivorous plants in the wild
(GB – Nepenthes villosa; GB – Drosera erythrorhiza subsp. squamosa, RG – Drosera arcturi);

Rarest plant

Most difficult species to see in the wild
(RG – Utricularia simmonsii);

Carnivorous plant landscape
(GL – Sarracenia flava var. rubricorpora);

Plant-animal interactions
(RG – Cabbage White Butterfly in Dionaea trap);

Photos by new members

Most artistic photo
(RG – Drosera marchantii subsp. prophylla)

Thanks to those who submitted photos for this competition.

In the Greenhouse

September lived up to its reputation of its ability to provide highly variable weather, particularly for those living on the coast and nearby ranges of New South Wales. A burst of summer warmth on the 12th and 13th prompted many Drosera to flower and encouraged growth of summer-growing plants to emerge from dormancy.

This was followed by storms in the eastern part of the state on the 17th that locally produced significant hail that would have flattened many precious plants. Then many parts of the coast and nearby ranges was subject to more than a week of cool southerly winds, with cloud and periods of heavy rain from the 19th which recharged soil moisture but would have slowed plant growth down and made work outside challenging. But at least it would have helped slowed dormancy down in some tuberous Drosera.

Sarracenia plants are flowering and this offers a great chance to propagate your plants by pollinating your flowers.

Each flower lasts about a week and is usually held horizontally when open. At its top is a star-like set of sepals below which is a central ovary from which hangs an inverted umbrella-like structure that has five corners. Each corner of the umbrella is curled up and inwards towards the ovary and each lobe has a central cleft at its apex below which is a small nob-like stigma.

The ovary is surrounded by about 20 stamens, which begin to release their pollen from the day after the flower has opened. The pollen falls onto the floor of the umbrella where it accumulates and forms a yellow powder.

Five petals emerge from around the ovary and stamens and they hang vertically in the space between the stigmatic lobes forming a loose seal to the inside of the flower.

In the wild access to the flowers is available only to strong solitary bees, which pollinate the flowers. In cultivation pollination may occur by visiting European honeybees particularly in flowers where the petals do not completely seal the flower’s interior, as often seems to occur in Sarracenia purpurea plants.

All Sarracenia taxa and hybrids are both-self-compatible and fully inter-fertile, which generates the ability to produce new genetic combinations, perhaps to hopefully combine desirable characters of two plants. It also means that care is needed to prevent random pollinations, or unintended double pollinations by affixing either gauze or a small paper bag over targeted flowers, and by carefully recording which pollinations have occurred. The plastic seals from loaves of bread in plastic bags may be used to write pollination details and safely affix to the scape to make doubly sure that the correct parentage is able to be provided to any resultant seed.

Pollinating the flowers is easy and requires something small and solid with a flat surface, like a toothpick. Once you have decided which flowers to pollinate (including self-pollination) then grab your toothpick, or equivalent, and a pen and some paper to record the details of the event, and perhaps a tag for the scape(s). First go to the pollen source flower. Gently lift up a petal to expose the exterior. If there is pollen on the floor of the umbrella then gently insert the broad end of the toothpick and scrape some of the pollen onto the tool. Bring the toothpick to the pollen-receiving flower (which may be the same as the pollen-donor for self-pollination) and rub pollen onto each of the five stigmatic lobes. Stop when you see that the stigma is covered in pollen. Record the pollination event, and put a label on the scape, if appropriate, before going on to any other pollination. Even if you do not wish to propagate plants for yourself please consider producing seed that may be donated to the seedbank.

The peak of flowering of most tuberous and other winter-growing Drosera is now past, and most of these plants are now commencing dormancy. Pots of these plants can start to be stored away for the summer. They are best placed somewhere shaded and dry, such as under benches, under verandahs or perhaps in a garage. They may be stacked on top of each other or stored in the polystyrene boxes they were grown in. The tubers will die if the mix around them completely dries out, so it is best to check the pots once a month over the summer and perhaps spray the surface of the mix lightly during each inspection. Many tuberous Drosera will recommence growth in December, and vigorous climbing sundews in the D. macrantha complex could have emerging new stems in late February, thus it pays to keep an eye on your collection even over the summer.

Winter-dormant aquatic carnivores like Aldrovanda vesiculosa and Utricularia australis are now breaking dormancy.

For Aldrovanda this is a critical time of year where they are most vulnerable to loss as they need to build biomass to see them through the coming summer; even a small set back now could see plants die quickly.

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