Re: non-acidic soils

Jan Schlauer (
Thu, 27 Jan 1994 13:23:05 +0100

>>>So are _Pings_ that are said to grow in a neutral or neutral-basic media
>>>really doing so?
> I've long wondered about whether acid vs. basic makes any
> difference. Years ago it was said that Drosophyllum NEEDED
> basic soil. I've grown it in what I presume to be acid soil
> with no problems. I mean, do these botanists actually run
> around with litmus paper to test the soil mix they find the
> plants growing in? (seriously!)

Some of them actually do. In some cases (when morphology fails)
"species" are defined by the type of soil they were found to grow in.
I'm very careful with such differentiation because frequently small
patches of humous (acidic) soil accumulate in places which are otherwise
dominated by calcareous (basic) earth. And one can never exclude the
factors affecting the (present) distribution of certain taxa to be other
than geologic.

As many cps have a reduced root system (i.e. reduced mineral uptake), it
may even be certain plant communities (which in turn may be affected by the
soil) rather than specific properties of the substrate which are preferred
by the cps.

Clearly "calciphilous" elements of the European _Pinguicula_ flora are
_P.longifolia_ (all sspp.) and _P.vallisneriifolia_, growing
exclusively on north facing wet limestone rocks, but the other spp. may
tolerate calcareous soils to a certain degree as well.

Kind regards