Barry Meyers-Rice (
Sat, 18 Jun 94 11:03:19 MST

> All you S. species experts out there.... What would cause a S. rubra to
>suddenly turn brownish at the tops of all the pitchers and turn yellowish
>on down 1/2 the pitcher. I have nearly every S. species in the same area and

Important information needed here---the pitchers that are browning, are they
last year's crop or are they new pitchers? Look for new leaves coming from
the rhizome. If new leaves are developing, and the leaves that browned were
from last year, I would just chalk it up to mysterious and inscrutable plant
motives, and not be worried about it. What you want to be worried about is
an unhappy plant, right? Not just a plant successfully responding to cues from
its environment.

>Ever noticed that crosses involving S. psittacina end up producing hybrids
>of a large size? I wonder why that is, any thoughts?

Nope, never noticed it. Slack reports a similar effect with crosses involving
_S.oreophila_, but since there are so few crosses of that plant (and I've
never seen one myself) I can't comment meaningfully.

>As far as I am concerned (from a zoological point of view) Separate species
>cannot interbreed to form viable offspring, that is they produce sterile
>hybrids. Is this different in the botanical world, because Sarracenia
>does not fit this criteria? Are we dealing with variants of one species?

Terry, while ``species'' seems to be a pretty good concept, it is not
always true that species can't interbreed. My equestrian friends claim that
the occasional mule (horse X donkey) is not sterile, I have heard about
occasional ``tigrons'' (tiger X lion), there is the well documented fact that
in the U.S. people enjoy interbreeding wolves and dogs (there's an
interesting and scathing article in this month's Smithsonian Magazine on this
topic). In botany, species can interbreed more often. There are hybrids
reported for Sarrs, Drosera, Heliamphora, Pings, and Utrics. Orchids can
be hybridized, even from different *genera*!! (The new genus names created
can be real messes, especially when more than two genera are involved).

>and then further west, alata intermingled. In my experience there seem
>to be many retrograde hybrids - individual plants with a pure heritage
>except for one out-species parent a few generations back. IMHO of
>course, the color variations -whether it is red veination on a flava or
>diffuse red in a leuco- would seem to me to be as likely to be derived
>from some distant "species impurity" as it would from some unique sub
>population of "pure" plants that have interbred enough to stabilize a
>characteristic. To support this, It

Tom, you've tramped around in the field more than I have, but my experience
and what I've read supports your ideas that a large amount of hybridization
has occurred with Sarrs. For example, I have some _S.alata_ that is pubescent.
This plant also tends to be slightly shorter and stockier than other _S.alata_,
which sounds like it might have some _S.purpurea_ mixed in, although this
influence is very slight. I'm reminded of how some very pretty _S.leucophylla_
that people grow look to me like they may have some _S.rubra_ mixed in,
which intensifies the reds. Don Schnell recently wrote (Terry, was it in the
ACPS bulletin?) that he thinks the ``original'' _S.flava_ populations were
the all-green, the all-red, the ornate-veined, and the throat-splotch types.
All pure _S.flava_ evolved from mixes of these. (I think I'm paraphrasing
him accurately, but am not sure if I got the progenitor colour types right).